Cost-saving by Healthcare Systems
OTC medications reduce the necessity to visit the doctor/physician. This saves resources for the healthcare industry in particular, thereby allowing it to divert its resources to more pressing healthcare issues, which would require physician involvement, such as diagnosis and treatment procedures for serious conditions. OTC medicines provide access to safe medication for nearly 180 million patients, while, at the same time, saving capital for the healthcare industry. Self-care via these medications is estimated to contribute to savings as high as USD 5 billion to the taxpayers and consumers in the United States annually. As per CHPA, OTC medication saves around USD 102 billion for the US healthcare system annually.
Self-Control over Health
The OTC medications provide the liberty to patients to eliminate the need to visit a physician or other clinical setting for common ailments. Instead, they can easily procure medications to address their ailment by procuring drugs without a prescription. According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, around 81% of the adult population is using OTC medications. It is being helpful in providing symptomatic relief to around 60 million people. The statistics show that the consumers are aware of their health conditions and are paying attention to the treatment. OTC medication helps people meet healthcare needs and empower individuals about health management.
OTC drugs that can treat multiple symptoms are another example of innovative products. Innovation is also resulting in improved performance, in terms of speed, strength, etc., thus improving the length of the effect. The diversification of the product is also achieved, as targeting different age groups – children, adults, woman, and old people with different products – are emerging and will drive the OTC drug market in future. The manufacturers of OTC target the women group, resorting to angles like pregnancy, weight loss, and even self-expression, which leads to new innovations. Similarly, OTC brands target children groups, with innovative offerings that consider two key drivers: enhancing the fun look and feel, and making it easier for parents to administer the dose to their kids.
Teen Drug Abuse
According to available statistics, around 12% of teenagers have admitted having abused OTC cough syrup. The major abuse of cough-and-cold medicines is seen among the teen population. Other medications include the usage of pseudoephedrine, marijuana, and diet pills. The major reason behind OTC abuse is the lack of education in teens about the dangers associated with OTC drugs. The parents are not well-educated about the adverse effects of OTC drugs, nor do they show interest to take the advice of physicians on this. This ultimately leads to hazardous casualties that can affect health or even lead to death.
Usage among the Geriatric Population
According to statistics, 40% of the OTC drugs are used by the geriatric population of age 65 and above. The geriatric population suffers from one or more diseases and are always on multiple medications. Sometimes, the OTC drugs purchased can cause the risk of drug interactions, leading to adverse drug effects. Other OTC medications, such as motion sickness pills and painkillers, that are commonly used by the elders cause hallucinations, stomach, and kidney problems, which can be considered as dangerous side effects for the geriatric population.
Usage in the Pregnant Population
Most of OTC drug labels carry the precaution about whether it can be used by pregnant women or not. However, due to negligence, people tend to use OTC drugs without proper knowledge, which may lead to life-threating situations. OTC drugs, such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen, should be avoided during the pregnancy, as they have shown adverse effects on unborn children or complications during delivery.