A majority of the billings were on immunity boosters, followed by supplements and products for skin and hair, with multivitamins and supplements – including Revital, A To Z , Shelcal, Biotin, Vitamin C and D brands, Omega 3, hair vitamins, gummies, probiotics, iron supplements – flying off retail shelves.
The data corroborates growth trajectory of OTC portfolios of drug biggies Cipla, Piramal Pharma and Mankind, which are posting steady growth, each registering revenues in the range of Rs 700-1,000 crore annually. A few years back, some of these companies had entered the wellness play for faster growth, wider reach and higher visibility on the strength of distribution network, and with the objective of tapping the huge potential in products catering to babies, geriatrics, derma, pain relief and gut health.
Typically, OTC medicines – those available without a doctor’s prescription – are dominated by immunity-building vitamins, skin ointments, lozenges and pain relief gels, and are growing at 10-15%, one of the fastest growing segments in the pharma market.
Under the consumer healthcare market, two segments, vitamins and supplements and gastro drugs, are the ones that are sold the most, about Rs 15,000 crore and Rs 12,000 crore annually. Within these, about one-fourth are sold over the counter. Cough, cold and allergy, allegesics and derma products are other drivers of growth.
Says Hari Natarajan founder and MD of Pronto Consult, “The Indian nutraceutical market has seen significant expansion, with Covid-19 pandemic having accelerated consumer interest in products that support immunity and overall health. Increasing awareness about the importance of preventive healthcare and wellness has spurred consumer interest in nutraceutical products. Consumers in India are now more proactive in seeking out products that can improve their overall health and address specific health concerns. As consumer demand for these products continues to rise, the market is expected to witness further growth and innovation, with potential for both domestic and international expansion”.
“With the Coronavirus wave having receded, the awareness to stay fit and eat healthy has become everyone’s objective. Most of the OTC products in the market build one’s immunity. To capitalise on this, since 2021 the launch of multivitamins, especially the immunity boosters to protect respiratory infections, have tripled…,” says Vishagan Sulur Vanangamudi, director and president, Apex Laboratories, a firm which promotes Zinc-based nutritional supplements, like Zincovit.