In today’s fast-paced, fast-growing world, cost efficiency, time efficiency, and effectiveness are paramount. With the increased incidence of disease and chronic illnesses, the global healthcare industry calling for major change, and medications becoming more and more expensive, an extremely comprehensive and multi-faceted solution is required. One component of that solution, which has proven to save time, money, and provide a number of other benefits, is over-the-counter medication (OTC). The OTC market, once completely overshadowed by the market for prescription medications, is now making huge strides and showing great promise for the future of medicine and healthcare. Below are the benefits of growing OTC market:
In most cases, it is almost impossible to obtain OTC medications for illnesses other than the common ones like colds, allergies, heartburn, etc. Yet, when it comes diabetes, a chronic condition that is also incredibly common, those with the disease can only obtain their medication through a prescription. Expanding the OTC market will improve the accessibility of medications for those with chronic diseases, facilitating better and faster treatment. Accessibility ties in with convenience, and when things are more convenient, individuals are more inclined to do them, which can lead to better and more consistent health maintenance.
Increasing the number of OTC medications will also make medication more accessible in places that lack adequate doctors or care facilities, which is especially important in poverty-stricken areas where it might be easier to access a local drugstore than it is to travel to clinic or medical facility.
The downside to accessibility is that it requires greater regulation. By making more medications available over-the-counter, the risk of abuse or black market sales can potentially increase. However, in even the most perfect of circumstances where each and every medication is intensely regulated, the risk can never be totally mitigated and in most cases the benefits outweigh the negatives.
Illness can often lead to a feeling of helplessness. This is compounded by the fact that many medications require a prescription, and to obtain that prescription can be a long and sometimes costly process. OTC medication provides a sense of control and empowerment when it comes to dealing with illness; a feeling of being able to take care of oneself and get back on track more quickly. For those who suffer from chronic illnesses or require daily medication, it’s one less stress on their otherwise stressful lives.
Patient autonomy also leads to increased awareness with regard to medication, encouraging more informed and intelligent use. When an individual is able to address an illness by obtaining medication on their own, they are more likely to do extensive research and become more in tune with their overall health and wellness. Further, OTC medications eliminate a great deal of shame and embarrassment when it comes to dealing with health issues that are more personal, such as STDs.
The rise in medication costs is a major issue around the globe and particularly in the United States. OTC medications are significantly cheaper and don’t come with the overhead associated with prescription medications. Because OTC medications cost less, more people can afford them, thus increasing overall healthcare coverage. And with more buyers, pharmaceutical companies are able to build a much larger consumer base and quickly increase revenue. This in turn drives competition, inviting new competitors both within the industry and outside of it to make their way into the growing OTC market. The market will also experience major acquisitions, as larger companies look to secure their share as early as possible.
These are just several of the many benefits that come with the expansion of the OTC market. With great necessity and growing demand, the OTC market is definitely one to pay attention to over the next several years.