• OTC Retail Sales 1964-2015

    Following is a compilation of known data on over-the-counter (OTC) medicine retail sales. The figures differ depending upon the source and differing definitions as to what constitutes "OTCs."

    Year Size in $Billions
    2015 32.1******
    2014 30.7******
    2013 29.7******
    2012 28.9******
    2011 28.2******
    2010 30.7*****
    2009 27.5*****
    2008 16.8****
    2007 16.0****
    2006 15.3****
    2005 15.0****
    2004 14.1****
    2003 14.2****
    2002 13.6****
    2001 15.0****
    2000 14.7****
    1999 18.9
    1998 17.8
    1997 17.4
    1996 16.5
    1995 15.4 (see note)
    1994 13.5
    1993 13.3
    1992 12.2
    1991 10.9
    1990 10.3
    1989 9.7
    1988 9.2
    1987 13.3***
    1986 8.5**
    1985 NA
    1984 7.4
    1983 6.9
    1982 6.2
    1981 5.8
    1980 5.5
    1979 4.9
    1978 4.7
    1977 4.5*
    1976 3.8
    1975 3.5
    1974 3.3
    1973 9.2
    1972 3.1
    1971 2.9
    1970 2.7
    1969 2.6
    1968 2.4
    1967 2.3
    1966 2.2
    1965 2.0
    1964 1.9

     

    Sources: The Nielsen Company (1992-2014), "Drug Topics"/Nielsen North America (1988-1991), "Drug Topics" (1982-84), and "Product Marketing" (1964-1981).

    NOTE: The 1995 sales figure represents a change in the way Nielsen defined an OTC drug and thus shows a greater increase than for other years. The number is more representative of the true OTC drug market as defined by the Food and Drug Administration. The statistic does not include vitamins/minerals/nutritional supplements.

     


     

    * Due to changes in data collection methods, actual increase may have been less than indicated.

    ** CHPA compilation of data using only OTC product categories represented by the industry - e.g., not all categories of oral health care and topicals, no vitamins and nutritional supplements.

    *** Only available data was provided by Kline & Co. for 1988 FDA/CHPA symposium. It showed $13.3 billion but included vitamins and nutritional supplements.

    ****Excludes Wal-Mart.

    *****Due to methodology changes, including reporting from Wal-Mart and expanded coverage in club, dollar, and convenience channels, sales figures for 2009 represent a more complete picture of the OTC marketplace versus previous years. 2009 through 2013 totals include U.S. - all outlets (food, drug, mass, select club and dollar store retailers, convenience, and military stores. A few categories include a combination of OTC medicines as well as health-related products which are not classified as drugs by FDA.

    ****** Due to methodology changes in 2014, sales figures for 2011-2014 have been updated.  These figures no longer include several categories included in 2010 and prior, which caused the figures to decrease.