Lifestyle diseases, propensity for self-medication to drive India OTC healthcare market at 4% CAGR through 2026, predicts GlobalData

Increasing health awareness in the aftermath of COVID-19 and soaring healthcare costs are driving the demand for over-the-counter (OTC) healthcare in India. As a result, the country’s OTC healthcare market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4%, from INR200.4 billion ($2.7 billion) in 2021 to INR244.1 billion ($2.9 billion) in 2026, forecasts GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘India OTC healthcare – Market Assessment and Forecasts to 2026’, reveals that the OTC market will be primarily driven by the ‘traditional medicines’ category with a projected value CAGR of 4.7% during 2021-2026. The category will be followed by ‘vitamins and minerals’ with a CAGR of 4.3%.

‘Drug stores & pharmacies’ was the leading distribution channel in the Indian OTC healthcare market in 2021, followed by ‘convenience stores’. Cipla Inc, Dabur India, and Johnson & Johnson Services Inc. were the top three companies in the Indian OTC healthcare sector in 2021. Hajmola and Benadryl were the leading brands.

Anush Shaw, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Rising healthcare costs, and difficulty in accessing healthcare facilities or the services of medical professionals, particularly during COVID-19, are forcing consumers to opt for self-medication. Moreover, the high penetration of smartphones and increasing access to high-speed internet connectivity have paved the way for telemedicine, and online drugs sales, resulting in the growth of the OTC healthcare market.”

Consequently, the per capita expenditure (PCE) on OTC healthcare in India increased from $0.55 in 2016 to $1 in 2021, which remains far lower than the global average of $14.2, and the regional average at $8.1 in 2021. The PCE on OTC healthcare in India is expected to reach $1.02 in 2026.

Shaw concludes: “The introduction of patient-friendly OTC healthcare regulations, and the entry of pharmaceutical giants, retailers and consumer packaged goods companies are expected to reshape the country’s OTC drugs landscape. The government’s ‘AtmaNirbhar’ (self-sufficiency) policy has spurred local research and development initiatives to launch ‘Made in India’ OTC drugs and devices.

“The development of innovative and consumer-centric products at affordable prices will play a pivotal role in further driving the growth of the OTC healthcare market in the price-sensitive Indian market. New product launches, complemented by consumer education campaigns will drive sales of non-prescription medicines.”

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