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Over-the-counter medicines

Breakdown of the OTC medicines market in Britain

The over-the-counter medicines market grew by almost 1% in 2017 to reach £2.56bn. Although pain relief remains the highest value category group, the most growth was seen in eye care and gastrointestinal products.

Graph showing breakdown of the OTC medicines market in Britain in 2017

To view the full infographic, click here

OTC (over-the-counter) medicines market in 2017

OTC medicines market in 2017

Source: Nielsen Scantrack, 52 weeks to 30 December 2017

The three largest category groups in terms of sales in 2017 were pain relief (22%), cough, cold and sore throat (19%) and vitamins and minerals (15%)

Top brands and manufacturers

The charts below show the top 10 brands within five popular categories and the companies that dominate these categories.

Graph showing top brands in cold, flu, and decongestants categories in 2017

Top brands: cold, flu, decongestants in 2017

Source: Nielsen Scantrack, 52 weeks to 9 September 2017

Lemsip leads the top 10 cold, flu, decongestants category, with growth of 0.1% compared with 2016. Benylin, Covonia, Beechams and Halls Soothers retain their top 10 ranking despite falls in sales

Graph showing top brands in indigestion remedies category in 2017

Top brands: indigestion remedies in 2017

Source: Nielsen Scantrack, 52 weeks to 9 September 2017

Nexium and Zantac both saw around a 35% increase in sales compared with 2016 but Gaviscon remained the top brand in this category

Graph showing top brands in hayfever category in 2017

Top brands: hayfever in 2017

Source: Nielsen Scantrack, 52 weeks to 9 September 2017. *These products are generic brands

Piriteze is the top-selling brand in the hayfever category and saw a 15% increase in sales compared with 2016

Graph showing top brands in adult oral analgesics in 2017

Top brands: adult oral analgesics in 2017

Source: Nielsen Scantrack, 52 weeks to 9 September 2017. *These products are generic brands

Sales of the top 10 adult oral analgesics have decreased compared with 2016, with the exception of Galpharm and Aspar brands, which have increased

Graph showing top brands in paediatric analgesics category in 2017

Top brands: paediatric analgesics in 2017

Source: Nielsen Scantrack, 52 weeks to 9 September 2017. *These products are generic brands

The top three paediatric pain relief brands remain the same in 2017, despite a fall in sales value for each. Calpol leads, with more than three times the sales of its closest competitor Nurofen

Graph showing total sales of top OTC brand manufacturers in 2017

Top OTC brand manufacturers in 2017

Source: Nielsen Scantrack, 52 weeks to 9 September 2017

RB dominates with Nurofen, Lemsip and Gaviscon. Johnson & Johnson is its closest competitor, with Calpol, Sudafed and Benylin

Graph showing targeted pain relief in the OTC market in 2017

Targeted pain relief takes off

Source: Nielsen Scantrack, 52 weeks to 30 December 2017

Both topical and paediatric pain relief categories grew during 2017, while adult oral analgesics stagnated.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204913

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