Survey of HCP’S Reveals Which OTC Products They Recommend to Patients and Why

April  01,  2018 by , in Shopper Survey

1,600 physicians across four HCP specialties took part in an RLA Collective/Brandperx survey on HCP recommendations of OTC’s to patients. BrandPerx, a specialized point-of-care patient and HCP sampling and education company, along with RLA brand marketing, conducted the survey that looked at what categories of over-the-counter (OTC) products doctors are most often recommending to patients and what drives these recommendations, confirming some expectations, while revealing some OTC opportunities.

The survey tapped physicians in four key specialties – primary care doctors, pediatricians, gastroenterologists and OB/GYNs – and created a snapshot into the areas where OTC brands might benefit from increased HCP – and patient – communication.

Not surprisingly, OB/GYNs reported higher incidence of feminine itch and yeast OTC recommendations (75%). But there were also surprises: For example, OB/GYNs were the mostly likely of the four HCP groups to recommend vitamins (83%) vs. primary care doctors (61%), and they were second to gastroenterologists in recommending heartburn products (44% and 63% respectively), surpassing primary care physicians (32%).

These and other insights should help brands to explore the HCP/OTC relationship more closely. Side effects, active ingredients and cost were key reasons for OTC recommendations, as were having samples, coupons, informational material, and familiarity with and trust in the brand – important factors when brands are planning their OTC marketing strategies.

Other key findings included:

-59% of OB/GYNs reported that they were more likely to recommend OTC products when they have coupons available.

-56% of OB/GYNs reported that having product samples in their office influences their recommendation habits.

-Of the medical professionals surveyed, gastroenterologists were most likely to recommend a brand by name, so the patient can easily identify the product at the store/shelf.

-Primary care physicians were least likely to recommend a brand by name, but rather by the brands they have coupons for.

-79% of pediatricians reported that having printed informational materials about an OTC brand is helpful when making a recommendation.


For the complete survey results by specialty and OTC category, contact Ashley Hughes at

For information on Brandperx, contact Shauna Garshon, president, at