This week, OTCs are in Action in Nigeria where RB has just launched the leading global ibuprofen brand, Nurofen, for both children and adults. “Nigerians are known to be hard working, constantly seeking ways to lead a better life; they therefore do not want anything that would weigh them down or slow their pace,” Mr. Rahul Murgai, General Manager, RB West Africa, said at the launch ceremony. “Nurofen can provide them instant relief from headaches, lower back pain, cold symptoms, dental pain and fever thereby giving them more play time instead of pain time.”
Legitimate OTC brands that offer consumers safe and efficacious self-medication in developing countries are very important, because they offer an alternative to the under-the-counter (without a prescription) distribution of Rx drugs, which is in common practice. As governments regulate pharmaceuticals, and national healthcare programmes are prioritised, enforcement against UTC sales will become more rigourous. For the time being, the Nigerian government is curbing distribution of counterfeit and substandard drugs, with new government drug distribution centres and a ban on the flow of drugs between manufacturers / importers and retailers.
Markets such as Nigeria will benefit from these regulatory measures, encouraging investment such as RB’s launch of Nurofen. Although the OTC market is quite small at $114mn (+9%) in the 12 months to end-March 2015, Nigerian OTC will continue to grow as brands like Nurofen expand consumer options for legitimate self-medication.