In the face of waves of illness, the market for over-the-counter medicines in Germany has grown strongly. In pharmacies and mail order, sales of medicines for self-medication (so-called OTC preparations) grew by almost ten percent in 2022 to a total of a good 10.5 billion euros. This is according to data published on Wednesday by the German Pharmaceutical Industry Association (BPI).
Accordingly, sales climbed by twelve percent to just under one billion packages. For the first time since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, the OTC market has recovered, explained the BPI. This includes over-the-counter medicines, but also dietary supplements and disinfectants.
The flu epidemic in December led to unusually high demand for OTC medicines.
Sales and revenue growth peaked in the fourth quarter of 2022, BPI chief executive Kai Joachimsen said. "Waves of infections during the year, especially the flu epidemic in December, led to unusually high demand for OTC medicines." The strongest driver, he said, was cold remedies.
In the pandemic, Corona measures had greatly curbed cold and flu illnesses. Then, last year, the situation had completely turned around: health insurance companies registered exceptionally high sickness rates, and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) observed an unusually high number of acute respiratory illnesses in the fall and early winter months of 2022. Pharmaceutical companies benefited from strong business with over-the-counter medicines. Demand for cold remedies in particular rose sharply.
Image by Stefan Schweihofer