• By Madhuleena Dutta, Communications, RetailerShakti.
  • April 20, 2023

OTC or over-the-counter drugs are those that customers can buy online, at pharmacies, Kirana (grocery) shops, and other commercial shops without a prescription. The Food and Drug Administration and other health organizations have approved OTC medicines as safe and effective treatments. OTC treats common, easily self-treated medical problems and symptoms like colds, mild discomfort, allergies, and other benign health issues that affect significant portions of the population.



OTC medicines give consumers easier means of receiving treatment at a lower cost for symptoms that are mild or self-limiting. India is undoubtedly a country with a vast population and a significant number of people living below the poverty line. It is for this reason that over-the-counter medications, which are also less expensive, are very helpful in safeguarding the health of individuals throughout the country. The reason for this is that, in contrast to over-the-counter (OTC) medications, branded medications are generally more expensive.


In addition, the majority of people in India do not seek medical attention for common illnesses. Also, there are many fewer doctors than there are patients on average. This is especially helpful in our country because there are far fewer doctors per patient than in other countries.


Without sacrificing the standard of care given to patients, it can be said that over-the-counter (OTC) medications assist in promoting self-care among individuals. It will make it possible for patients to find appropriate treatment without a doctor. These over-the-counter medications' safety makes them a good first step in creating a healthy society.



The Union government has proposed to bring over-the-counter (OTC) medications into India through an amendment to the Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations and permit their retail market sales without the need for a prescription. A list of OTC medicines which are permitted to be sold in Kirana shops has been authorized by the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB). 


These mainly include the medicines like:

  • Antifungal creams 
  • Cough syrups (selective)
  • Analgesics (selective)
  • Antiseptics
  • Laxatives
  • Nasal Decongestants
  • Medicines for infections caused to the gums.


Some of the Major OTC Products Available in Kirana Shops Include:


Antidandruff Agents

Toothpaste for Dental Health

Sun Protection Lotions, Creams & Gels

Personal Hygiene products like Deodorants, Soaps, Sanitary Napkins, Diapers etc.

Antacid Solubles

Antiseptics & Sanitizers

Oral Rehydration Solutions/ Glucose Powder

Pain Relievers

Mentholated Balms

Throat Lozenges

Health/ Energy Drinks



Because of a common ongoing trend, it is mostly seen around that the general public often prefers to approach local Kirana shops to get medicines for minor illnesses like - aches, pains, coughs, colds, allergies, fever, acidity, diarrhoea, skin issues etc., rather than going to a doctor for the prescribed medicines. These medicines are Over-the-counter medicines or commonly termed as OTC medicines. As there is no requirement for a prescription to purchase these medicines, they are readily available in any Kirana shop and may be used by anybody. 


The prime objective of enabling OTC drug sales at Kirana shops is to make sure that customers may conveniently get these medicines. They also want to supply drugs for common health conditions to assist in reducing and identifying health-related difficulties as soon as possible.


As time goes on, grocery shops are moving to online platforms. The transition of Kirana stores into online stores, together with the convenience of home delivery, has elevated the sales and preference for over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. 



Throughout the past several years, the usage of "Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications" has significantly increased. This trend is developed by a variety of factors, including easy availability, price, and increasing patient knowledge. Many countries have created laws governing the use of over-the-counter medicines as a separate group of drugs. However, there are currently no regulations for licensing OTC medicines in India. The medications that do not fall under the schedule of prescriptions are often offered as over-the-counter medicines in India because there is no specific category set out for them. 


As part of a new over-the-counter (OTC) medicine policy, India will soon permit the selling of some medications without a prescription. The new policy has been accepted by the country's highest drug advisory body, the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), a list of OTC medicines, including analgesics (pain relievers), cough syrups, laxatives, nasal sprays and antiseptics has been approved by the DTAB.

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is in charge of evaluating which medicines are secure to take without the supervision of healthcare experts. They also assess a medicine's efficacy based on its overall effects.  In general, a doctor's prescription is not necessary for the distribution of over-the-counter (OTC) medications in India. This is primarily the reason why these medications are openly and without restriction marketed throughout India's many states. Hence, selling or distributing over-the-counter (OTC) medications in Kirana stores is not a major concern.