Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines: breakdown of sales in Great Britain, by category

The total sales value of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs amounted to 2.6 billion British pounds during the period of July 2017 to July 2018. OTC refers to a class of medication that can be sold without the need for a prescription. Pain relief garnered the highest sales value at 566.5 million British pounds, followed by cough/cold/sore throat medication at 460.1 million British pounds.

Leading brands in the market

In the UK in 2017, the leading adult oral analgesic (also known as painkillers) brand by sales value was Nurofen with a sales value of 80 million British pounds. While in the same year, the pediatric analgesic market was dominated by Calpol with a sales value of 52.5 million British pounds. Nurofen followed with the second highest sales value among the children’s pain relief market.

Prescribed medication

At the same time as the OTC market has been increasing, the number of prescription items dispensed has likewise increased in the same period. In 2017/18, there were over one billion items dispensed in England. As a result, the average number of prescription items dispensed per month at pharmacies in England was approximately 7.3 thousand in 2017/18.

Sales value of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines in Great Britain from 2017 to 2018, by medicine category

Sales value in million GBP
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Release date

September 2018


United Kingdom (Great Britain)

Survey time period

July 2017 to July 2018

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Statistics on "Over-the-counter medicine industry in the United Kingdom"

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