Hong Kong Experiences Slow-Down in OTC Products

Over the past two years, visitors to Hong Kong from Mainland China have dramatically decreased due to tightened tourist restrictions.  This has had a significant impact on Hong Kong’s economy, notably, sales of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines have declined by over 4% in 2016.  Categories included in this slow-down include cough, cold, and allergy medicines and analgesics.  On the other hand, Hong Kong’s largest OTC category, composed of vitamins, minerals, and supplements experienced growth, and is projected to continue growing.  This is partly due to the new registration regulations updated by the Department of Health.  As of January 2016, OTC products containing vitamins, minerals, and glucosamine are classified as foods instead of OTC products.  Major companies such as Pfizer and Bayer have changed their brands to market these products as non-pharmaceutical products, and these new rules will continue to encourage foreign companies to introduce food-based healthcare products to Hong Kong.