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OTC medicines: breakdown of sales in Great Britain 2019, by category

The total sales value of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs amounted to 2.74 billion British pounds in 2019. 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 628.6 million British pounds, followed by cough/cold/sore throat medication at 478.7 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 2018/19, 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 2018/19.

Sales value of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines in Great Britain in 2019, by medicine category

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Release date

March 2020


United Kingdom (Great Britain)

Survey time period


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

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