One in seven UK adults spend over £100 on over-the-counter medication every year

One in seven UK adults spends over £100 on over-the-counter medication every year, a new study has found.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 11:31 am

The survey discovered that 14% of adults spend over that amount – with over two thirds (72%) of adults estimate they spend more on buying painkillers than any other over-the-counter medication

It also found that only 17% of adults are able to spend less than £49.99 per year on over-the-counter medication.

The study was conducted by the expert team at digital pharmacy, who asked over 2,200 British adults a series of questions relating to their estimated spend on over-the-counter medications.

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One in seven people spends more than £100 on over the counter medicine each year.

22% of UK adults spend between £75 and £99.99 per year on over-the-counter medication

47% of UK adults spend between £50 and £74.99 per year on over-the-counter medication

17% of UK adults spend less than £49.99 per year on over-the-counter medication

Of those who say that they spend over £100 a year on over-the-counter medication, 72% of these are over the age of 65 years old and only 12% are under the age of 25 years old.

When the experts looked into what types of products people were spending most of their money on, they found that the most common products purchased are:

1. Painkillers (72% of respondents said that this is the medication they spend the most money on)

2. Vitamins, such as vitamin D (23%)

3. Skin products, such as eczema creams (18%)

4. Sexual health products (11%)

5. Smoking aids (5%)

Giulia Guerrini, the lead pharmacist from digital pharmacy, said: “Although many people get their medication through their GP and prescriptions, therefore not seeing the true cost of the medications they’re taking, many of us also purchase medication over-the-counter – especially if we're needing help with minor issues such as cold and flu, cough, sore throat.

"Prescribing medication that can be purchased over the counter costs loads to the NHS, so It’s positive to see that so many people say that they’re spending money on painkillers over the counter, as this means that less people are relying on the NHS to provide painkillers as they can nurse themselves back to health.

“It’s not surprising to see that the majority of those who say that they’re spending over £100 a year are over the age of 65, as many of us tend to suffer more with our health and encounter more issues as we get older.

"However, there are lots of ways for you to save money on your medication, the first of which is to look at online pharmacies, such as medino. Online pharmacies tend to have more regular discounts and will even offer rewards for loyal customers so that you can get your over the counter products at a cheaper cost.

"Also, if you’re finding that you’re spending a lot of money on prescription fees, you can purchase a prescription payment certificate from the NHS for either three or 12 months: this will help reduce the amount you’re paying if you find that you’re purchasing more than one prescription a month.”