Over The Counter (OTC) Sales: Over the counter drugs are available without prescription from physicians. They are used for minor diseases. Patients make their own choice of drugs/brands for particular common mild diseases. Sometimes physicians also prescribe OTC drugs for minor ailments. Pharmacists also suggest/advise patients for minor diseases. “Over-the-counter drugs (OTC drugs)” is a loose and legally undefined term. It does not find a mention in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, or the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945”. As the United States Department of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines OTC drugs as “drugs that are safe and effective for use by the general public without seeking treatment by a health professional”.Drugs that fall under Schedule K of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940 and which do not fall under any other restrictive schedules are officially considered to be OTC drugs.
There are some advantages and disadvantages about over the counter drugs. Some of them are mentioned below:
Indian OTC Pharmaceuticals Market
Market Overview: The market is divided into five segments:
Overall, the market for OTC Pharmaceuticals is projected to increase by 3 percent between 2012 and 2023. During 2018 and 2023, all categories of the OTC Pharmaceuticals market are increasing by more than 10 percent. The Cold & Cough Remedies segment, however, shows the highest potential for the future and is projected to rise by 25 percent, reaching US$ 41 billion in 2023. Together, the categories of Cough & Cold Remedies and Analgesics account for more than of the overall revenue, especially due to major sales of Aspirin, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, and flu-like remedies.
Table.1: Global comparison revenue OTC Pharmaceuticals
Table.2: Revenue in the OTC Pharmaceuticals in India
Table.3: Revenue in the OTC Pharmaceuticals in India (2019)
Rational Use of (OTC) Drugs
As OTC drugs are available without a physician’s prescription, sometimes there are chances of drug addiction. Self-medication is another major issue with OTC drugs. Many studies have been conducted on OTC drugs and self-medication. Every drug has adverse effects if consumed for a long time. Drug addicts are controlled by their habits. Everything they do is geared towards satisfying their need. Addicts will persist in taking drugs even though they are fully aware of the consequences. Some of the addiction-forming OTC drugs are analgesics, pain killers, and cough preparations.
Safety of OTC Products:
All OTC drug products must meet FDA standards in terms of quality, efficacy, and safety. Though easier to purchase and use than prescription medicinal products, it is important to understand that these are herbal products though not without risk. You can think about the advantages and the risks before using any drug to make the best choice for you. Evaluate the products, and ask yourself:
- What is the persistence of this drug?
- Do I need to use that product?
- Is there any risk for interactions with other medications or foods?
- What are the side effects?
- When will I stop taking the medication and contact the physician?
- How much medicine will I be taking?
- How often and for how long, and how do I take medicine?
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