Herbal Supplements, Prescription Drugs, Rx-to-OTC Products: A Comparison

Published - Oct 2006| Analyst - Lynn Gray| Code - PHM050A
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Report Highlights

  • In 2005, the herbal supplements market for products covered in this report was only 0.47% of the prescription market for drugs to treat these conditions. It is unlikely that the herbal supplements market will ever represent more than a very small percentage of the prescription drug market. For those categories where OTC products exist-treatments for nausea, heartburn and insomnia-OTC revenues represented 4.3%, 14.2% and 7.2% of prescription drug markets for these categories, respectively, in 2005.
  • The global market for herbal supplements covered in this report was $5.5 billion in 2005 and $5.6 billion by the end of 2006. Growing at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 1.7%, this market sector will cross just over $6.1 billion by 2011.
  • The global market for prescription drugs was worth more than $114 billion in 2005 and almost $120 billion in 2006. At an AAGR of 4.6%, this market will grow to reach almost $150 billion by 2011.


The aim of this report is to provide a range of information-from detailed market analyses through industry trends-to quantify, qualify and compare the herbal supplement, prescription drug (including generics) and (where applicable) over-the-counter (OTC) drug markets for a variety of diseases with large patient bases.

This report offers a unique perspective on diseases for which herbal supplements as well as prescription drugs and, in some cases, OTC treatments are available. The purpose of the report is to compare trends in these treatment options and provide market assessments and forecasts for each. The information and analysis presented in this report are important assets in decision-making for managers involved in business development, marketing, market research, product development, mergers and acquisitions, licensing, business management, investment banking and deal creation, and to consultants to the healthcare, herbal supplement, prescription pharmaceutical and OTC treatment industry. The study provides a comprehensive analysis of the current markets for herbal supplements, prescription drugs and (where applicable) OTC products for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, cognitive disorders, depression, erectile dysfunction, gastrointestinal disorders (heartburn and nausea), hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, insomnia and menopausal symptoms.


This report contains:


  • The major current and emerging markets for herbal supplements, prescription drugs and (where applicable) OTC treatments
  • An overview section that provides a discussion of the emergence of the herbal supplements market, U.S. and overseas regulations and guidelines relating to this market, sources of raw materials and concerns about sustainability of herbal harvesting practices
  • A global forecast for the herbal supplement and OTC market, with a five-year forecast date to 2011
  • The latest company profiles for the top companies in the market
  • A detailed patent analysis.



The base year for this study is 2006. Figures are based on revenue numbers at the manufacturers' level and are projected at 2006 dollar value; that is, inflation is not computed into the projection figures.

This study was prepared with data and trends derived from herbal products specialists and organizations, pharmaceutical product managers, marketing strategists, research executives and others at leading herbal and pharmaceutical companies that have products used in the treatment of diseases covered in this report or which have products in development for these markets.


The information and analyses presented in this report are based on an extensive survey of the herbal supplement/nutritional products and pharmaceutical industries as well as a detailed examination of published literature and reports obtained from regulatory authorities, medical research institutions, pharmaceutical trade associations and national and world health organizations. Key information from business literature was used to obtain expert opinions on commercial potential and market sizes from industry professionals.


Lynn Gray has been a research analyst in the biotechnology and life sciences since 1989. Her collaboration with BCC Research began in 1996, and since then, she has authored over 20 BCC biomedical reports.

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