The power of communication: consumer dialogue for OTC products

Elena Anfosso and Giuliano Meroni
Novartis Consumer Health OTC Business Unit, Italy


The Italian OTC drugs market is evolving. The last significant change occurred about two years ago with the so-called “Bersani Decree”, which ratified the exit of the OTCs from the pharmacy, giving consumers the chance to buy over-the-counter drugs from large-scale distribution centers as well, with the obligatory presence of a pharmacist.

But what is the consumers' image of the OTC world? How do they gather information about it? Is there a feeling of confidence about OTC drugs, and how does it develop? And what is their approach to an increasingly wide variety of choice? To answer these and other questions, we have consulted the consumers themselves, collecting their experiences and opinions, inviting them to discuss present and future scenarios, and sought confirmation in the experience of the family physicians.