Prescription drugs (known as OTC drugs) are drugs that consumers can purchase directly from a pharmacy or pharmacy without requiring a doctor's prescription. Over-the-counter drugs are converted from prescription drugs and are drugs that have been used for a long time, have been confirmed as effective, have stable quality, and are safe for non-medical professionals to use.

OTC (Over The Counter) over-the-counter drugs are defined by the Department of Health of China's Ministry of Health: it is a drug that consumers can buy directly from a pharmacy or pharmacy without a doctor's prescription, and it is safe under the guidance of medical professionals. The drugs used do not require the use of medicines that can be purchased and used on the basis of the prescription of a practicing doctor or an assistant doctor.

OTC is divided into Category A OTC and Category B OTC. Category A (red) can be sold in hospitals and pharmacies; Category B (green) can be sold in hospitals, pharmacies, supermarkets, hotels and other places.

(To buy non-prescription drugs (OTC) red and green to distinguish, the OTC logo on the box is green, high safety, adverse reactions, the red should comply with the doctor's advice.)

In contrast to OTC, RX refers to medicines that must be purchased by a prescription prescribed by a practicing physician or doctor.

Since over-the-counter drugs can be taken without the guidance of a physician, non-prescription drugs are generally safe, effective, inexpensive, and convenient. The relevant persons have specifically summarized their characteristics as follows:

First, without a doctor's prescription, not under the supervision of a doctor. (but long-term use under the guidance of a doctor)

Second, indications are self-judgment of the patient's illness, the drug efficacy is accurate, easy to use and safe, rapid onset of effect.

Third, generally can play a sense of reducing the patient's discomfort, can reduce the initial symptoms of minor diseases or prevent its deterioration, but also can reduce the diagnosis of the symptoms or delay the development of the disease.

Fourth, do not contain toxic or addictive components, not easy to accumulate in the body, will not produce drug resistance, the incidence of adverse reactions is low.

V. Storage under normal conditions, stable quality.

6. The specifications of non-prescription drugs used by different users are different. The explanatory texts are easy to understand and can be used correctly under the guidance of labels and instructions.

Seventh, otc drug features: safe, effective, convenient, and economical. Before otc drugs are put on the market, they have been clinically tested for many years and have been widely recognized by consumers.

At present, there are altogether 1154 OTC drug chemical types and 4,420 Chinese herbal drugs (as of July 20, 2009). All information can be found on the SFDA's website:

The following: OTC chemical specification manual, OTC herbal specification.


Over-the-counter medicine has been for more than 60 years. It is a product of people's increased awareness of self-care and self-medication. Now that OTC has become an industry, it must be noted that pharmaceutical production has also become a huge area of ​​profitability.

Some countries in the world have long implemented non-prescription drug management systems, which must be brought in line with China’s economic development and medical reforms. Western developed countries began to implement a drug classification management system in the 1970s, converted some prescription drugs into non-prescription drugs, and encouraged individuals to bear some medical expenses, such as the use of non-prescription drugs for some minor injuries.

The Chinese government formally proposed drug classification management in 1996. In the same year, the Ministry of Health took the lead. Seven ministries and commissions jointly set up OTC offices. After the establishment of the State Drug Administration in 1998, the safety supervision department of the Drug Administration was responsible for the management of OTC. On July 22, 1999, China formally issued the "Administrative Measures for the Classification of Prescription Drugs and Non-prescription Drugs (Trial)", and published the first batch of national non-prescription drug catalogs (Western medicines and Chinese patent medicines). The "Administrative Measures" was adopted on January 1, 2000. It will be implemented from day to day.

According to data surveys, the current situation of OTC and self-treatment in people around the world is: 160% to 95% of illnesses are initially treated in a form of self-care (or health care). 2 People who make up an average of 60% of the world’s population take one drug every day, of which 57% are self-medications. 3 In the United States, treatment with OTC medications is 4 times more common than finding a doctor, and 92% of consumers are satisfied with the efficacy of OTC medications. 4 According to a survey conducted by South Korea in 1991, 63% of minor illnesses were treated after pharmacy consultation. 5 Regular visits to hospitals often go to pharmacies for minor problems. 6 There is no difference in self-medication trend between rich and poor. 7 The overall situation of using OTC drugs: 33% in the United States, 28% in Australia, 28% in Germany, 24% in Spain, 24% in the United Kingdom, 22% in Switzerland, 21% in Mexico, 20% in Italy, and 16% in Japan. The medical expenses in China have been rising year by year. Since 1978, the average annual growth rate of public medical expenses has been 20.8%, which exceeds the annual growth rate of national economic development and fiscal revenue.

China's current medical system has a single source of cost, narrow coverage (only less than 1/5 of the population can be guaranteed), low socialization, and over-emphasis on welfare. After implementing classified management in various countries of the world, it not only provided the public with safe, effective, reliable, and easy-to-use OTC drugs, but also played a significant role in reducing medical costs, rationalizing the use of limited health resources, changing public health concepts, and promoting the health care system.

OTC Market Overview

In recent years, due to the downturn in the prescription drug market, many pharmaceutical companies have turned their attention to OTC, and China's non-prescription drug market is extremely active. In 2007, the OTC market continued to expand, and the sales of branded OTC products generally increased. The OTC brand products leading the various categories all grew to varying degrees.

China's OTC drugs are directly oriented to consumers. They are consumer-centered. Consumers choose their own products, do not need to go through a doctor, and show more characteristics of general consumer products than prescription drugs. They respond to consumer desires and demands more quickly, and thus the market Has great potential. It is expected that by 2010, China will become one of the largest pharmaceutical markets in the world. OTC sales can reach 30-40% of global pharmaceutical sales, and it will become the world's largest pharmaceutical market by 2020. In the face of huge market cakes, global multinational companies such as Janssen, Shi Guibao, Shike, and Pfizer have made preparations for seizing the Chinese OTC market, and have stepped up R&D efforts to accelerate their deployment in China.

In addition, the urban population in China is increasing at a rate of around 20 million annually, and the demand for non-prescription drugs from urban residents will promote the development of this market; the aging of China’s population will accelerate, and the medical consumption of this group of people will increase; the income of urban residents will increase. Faster, its medical and health costs have also increased rapidly. The basic medical insurance system and the reform of the medical system have greatly accelerated the growth of the non-prescription drug market. With the comprehensive promotion of rural “two-network construction”, medical insurance, and the new rural cooperative medical system, the rural pharmaceutical market has gradually become a new hot spot. The outlook for China's OTC market is very impressive.

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