Self-medication in Italy - Statistics and facts

Today, minor health issues such as cold and cough, headache or stomach ache are quite widespread. In Italy, most of the population reported to deal from time to time with stress-related disorders in 2018, most often a headache. In such common cases, self-medication is the solution, with medicine that does not require medical supervision. The recourse to self-medication products is reasonably frequent among the Italian population, especially when it comes to treating gastro-intestinal problems or general stress-related disorders. Nonetheless, physicians and pharmacists are still consulted, particularly if a person takes medicine for the first time.

Over the last year, Italian pharmacies generated revenues of 5.8 billion euros by selling self-medication products, with sales volume amounting to 496 million units. Self-medication accounted for 56.6 percent in value and 50.7 percent in volume of the total commercial pharmaceutical segment. In terms of market size annual growth, the fastest-growing therapeutic categories were the nervous system and urology. The latter was also the category with the largest share of turnover generated from new brands and line extensions .

On the other hand, with reference to market share, the two best performing therapeutic categories were respiratory and gastrointestinal. Regarding brands, Tachipirina led the market of OTC (over-the-counter) and non-prescription drugs and it ranked first among the most popular cold remedies in terms of sales value. Among cough medicines, Fluibron was the best performing product. Regarding non-prescription drugs to treat disorders of the gastro-intestinal tract, laxatives and probiotics were the products generating the largest revenues.

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Self-medication in Italy

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Self-medication market

Best performing categories