According to Statista, China has already surpassed the US and become the largest OTC pharmaceutical market in the world. The OTC drug revenue in China is expected to be US $27.28bn in 2022.
To enter such a market via general trade, OTC drugs usually need to go through complicated marketing authorization procedures that may last 2-3 years if exempted from clinical trials, or even 4-5 years if subject to clinical trials.
China has issued pilot policies that support the import of OTC drugs via cross-border e-commerce (CBEC). In December 2019, China's National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) permitted Beijing to import OTC pharmaceutical products through CBEC. In May 2021, another CBEC pilot program was approved by the State Council for importing drugs to Henan Province.
Thus, cross-border e-commerce is developing as a promising approach to China's OTC pharmaceutical market. In Statista's estimation, 57.9% of total revenue will be generated through online sales in China's OTC pharmaceutical market in 2022.