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Teva UK has been busy expanding its activities in the over-the-counter drug market, recently releasing 20 new product lines. These include pain killers, allergy pills, digestion aids and flu symptom treatments.

The company stated that entering the non-prescription drug market is a logical step in its business development, and that it has plans to introduce a new batch of OTC drugs at the beginning of next year. Ryan Roscoe, OTC product line manager for Teva UK, stated that the company's products will offer alternatives to non-generic and other brand-name drugs and provide value both to consumers and to pharmaceutical retailers.

The OTC market is estimated to be worth $3 billion in the UK, with a lower profit margin than in the U.S., where annual sales are estimated at $20 billion.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is active in this field in Israel. It is the leading market player in non-prescription drugs in Croatia and Russia, the second largest in Hungary, and one of the leading companies in the industry in Argentina and Chile.

The market for OTC medication in the UK, including brand-name drugs and private label drugs from retail drug chains and wholesale distributors, is estimated at $3.5 billion annually, with private labels accounting for 40% of sales.

Teva UK is expected to compete head on with Perrigo, which produces private-label OTC drugs after having purchased two companies in this market. In January 2008 it acquired Galpharm, which had been one of the UK's largest private-label OTC suppliers with $55 million in annual sales, for $86 million. Five months later Perrigo bought out Brunei, a smaller OTC company, for $6.4 million.

Teva UK's expansion of OTC activity comes in the wake of Sanofi-Aventis' acquisition of Chattem, a major U.S. non-prescription drug manufacturer, in December 2009 for $1.9 billion. Sanofi-Aventis had said that it sees this market as one of its future growth engines and as a means of maintaining its market share in prescription medications, such as its blockbuster allergy medication Allegra, after they begin competing with generics, by building on consumer brand loyalty.