Published on : Aug 31, 2017
Albany, New York, August 31, 2017: A latest report by Market Research Hub titled “U.K. OTC Analgesics - July 2017” offers comprehensive analysis and insights on the key trends shaping demand in the UK. According to the report, self-medication and self-care practices have remained controversial in the healthcare landscape. While their sales account for a sizeable percentage of the overall pharmaceutical sales, concerns about their abuse and side-effects have meant that they witness increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies. Utilization of over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics is a part of self-medication process. However, their effectiveness in pain management has led to their widespread abuse.
Analyzing the status of pharmacies vis-à-vis the debate on the use of analgesics, the report offers detailed insights on future direction of this market. With pharmacists being more accessible to patients, they have usually been the first line of contact, having the opportunity to counsel and educate patients regarding appropriate use of OTC analgesics. Pharmacists could liaise with several other healthcare providers in managing the self-care practices of patients. However, this role has always been underutilized by pharmacists. OTC advertisements are a major factor that drive their selection by patients. A patient might be misinformed if advertisements are misleading. These advertisements focus on beneficial effects of OTC analgesics, providing bare information about safety concerns and contraindications. With respect to this regard, pharmacists could provide insights about all aspects of drugs, coupled with information about safe utilization of OTC analgesics.
The report further comments that right recommendation of OTC analgesics consumption is imperative for patients. Globally, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are the most prevalent OTC analgesics, even though ketoprofen and diclofenac have been experiencing rapid adoption in regions where drugs are available readily in the OTC market. On the back of strength of commonly used ingredients in OTC analgesics, coupled with the potential for their misuse and overuse, access to OTC analgesics might vary on a large scale, even across markets having fairly similar demographic and macroeconomic characteristics. Most of the markets have restricted sales of OTC analgesics to only drugstores/parapharmacies, or pharmacists/chemists, wherein trained professionals provide expert advice on right usage.
Global sales of OTC analgesics have been heavily influenced by epidemiological and demographic factors such as rising incidences of various chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, a changing regulatory landscape estimates stricter time to arrive in many countries, with the governments as well as consumers grappling with the side-effects associated with several OTC analgesics. Trends towards healthier lifestyles will keep influencing growth of both topical analgesics as well as types of ingestible analgesics that consumers prefer, with increasing awareness about potential side-effects based on their routine of usage. With manufacturers working on customization of analgesic offerings to certain groups, familiar and known brands will continue to gain popularity across regions.
Legalities of certain active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) of analgesics, along with the regulatory structures imposed across markets will take a lot of time to change, even though consumer behaviors, purchasing habits, and preferences will inevitably witness regular transformations. A major challenge for pharmaceutical companies is to expand innovation in OTC analgesics within limitations in utilization of particular APIs, and doing so within legal parameters. A huge opportunity lies in reformulation – amount of medication delivered, way in which it is delivered, and the patients it is delivered to. The future of pain management will most likely be determined on the basis of regulatory changes, rising consumer preferences for pain management techniques, RX-to-OTC switches, and demand for OTC analgesic products devoid of health-abusive chemicals.
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