Industry fails to capitalise on the rise of OTC medicine

New research into attitudes towards health and over-the-counter (OTC) medicine sounds a warning for marketers of medicine and pharmacy brands.

Entitled A Picture of Health, the research was conducted by Reader’s Digest in association with the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB). It shows that 96 per cent of people say they should be responsible for their own health and that 59 per cent prefer to treat minor ailments themselves. Yet only eight per cent of people say they regularly rely on the pharmacists for information or help with diagnosis.

The report also shows that while consumers have been empowered to self-medicate by developments such as NHS Direct and the explosion of interest in health in the media, a large number maintain that they are overwhelmed by the quantity of information available.

According to Suzanne Lugthart, head of research at Reader’s Digest, the report shows that marketers are not doing enough to inform consumers in easily digestible ways and therefore encourage sales of their brands.

A significant 24 per cent of respondents claim that if they had better knowledge about everyday ailments and products, they would be more inclined to treat themselves, she says. Also, 61 per cent say they use the Net to research ailments and cures.

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