Russia's self-medication market expanding rapidly

Russia's self-medication market expanding rapidly

Research firm predicts the country's OTC market will hit US$16 billion by 2018—the highest annual growth rate of the seven emerging markets investigated.

A growing elderly population, rising obesity and a huge number of smokers are key contributors to a surging over-the-counter (OTC) drugs market in Russia, states a new report from healthcare industry analysts GBI Research.

The firm’s latest publication predicts the country’s OTC market to climb in value from last year’s total of US$7.1 billion to US$16 billion by just 2018, at an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate of 12.4 percent—the highest of any of the seven emerging markets investigated.

According to GBI Research, the lifestyle OTC medications sector is a significant contributor to the industry, accounting for 19 percent of the total last year, and is expected become the number one OTC market contributor in the future as more Russian’s seek to address unhealthy habits.

The Eastern European nation is home to the largest percentage of smokers in the world and has a growing problem with obesity, but a strong lifestyle OTC industry indicates a healthy cultural desire to combat these issues.

The cough, cold and allergy category also holds a large market share at 18 percent. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, tuberculosis has been on the rise, and while this is a serious condition that requires medical attention and prescription drugs, it is likely that OTC products will be used alongside professional treatments to help ease disease symptoms.

Despite having a far greater population, China’s OTC market value is expected to be only marginally greater than Russia’s in 2018, at US$16.6 billion. Of the seven emerging markets identified in GBI Research’s report, Brazil is predicted to have the third biggest OTC market value at US$8.3 billion, while India is placed fourth at US$5.2 billion.


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