Swine flu drives over-the-counter medicine sales in northern hemisphere, reports Mintel
December 1, 2009
The swine flu pandemic, coupled with the onset of autumn and the cold and flu season in countries in the northern hemisphere, is driving consumers to pharmacies and supermarkets to stock up on over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, says market research firm Mintel.
Mintel's Global Market Navigator (GMN) predicts Americans will cough up a total $3.6bn on cold, cough and throat remedies this year, 1.7% more than during 2008.
In Britain, people could fork out over £428m by the year's end, a 4.2% increase over 2008, it says.
Diana Nhan, senior market analyst for Mintel GMN, said swine flu was poised to impact OTC medicine sales this year:
“The US cold, cough and throat remedy market saw a 13.4% spike in sales during 2005, when the avian flu dominated media stories. Already, swine flu has received equivalent media exposure, and many Americans are worried about the virus. I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar trend-busting increase in US cold, cough and throat remedy sales for 2009 and the early part of 2010.”
In total, Americans will spend more than $32bn on OTC pharmaceuticals this year, while Britons dedicate £2.6bn towards alleviating symptoms. The Chinese are expected to spend over ¥58bn, while Russians bear out cold weather in the name of $3.4bn.
Mintel GMN’s expects all four countries to see sales increases for OTC medication in 2010.
Americans dedicate more funds towards treating the sniffles than people in the UK, China or Russia, it adds.
In the US, OTC medicine sales account for 0.22% of GDP, compared to 0.20% in Russia and approximately 0.17% in the UK and China.
December 2009 Issue