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Europe Diet Pills Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Product Type (Prescription, and Over-the-Counter (OTC)), By Application (Appetite Suppression, Fat Blocking, and Others), By Distribution Channel (Hospital Pharmacies, Drug Stores & Retail Pharmacies, and Online Pharmacies), and Regional Forecast, 2021-2028

Last Updated: May 06, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI105733



The Europe diet pills market size was USD 237.1 million in 2020 and is projected to grow from USD 297.1 million in 2021 to USD 1,411.1 million in 2028, at a CAGR of 24.9% in the 2021-2028 period. The market exhibited a lower growth of 11.4% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with diet pills witnessing a negative impact on demand across Europe amid the pandemic. The rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.

In terms of the prevalence of obesity at the global level, Europe only ranks second to the United States. This strong trend of obesity, which is expected to rise in the region, has led to concerns that obesity can be in the form of an epidemic in the region. Furthermore, obesity has a number of severe implications, such as an increased economic cost of the burden on Europe’s healthcare system. This has led to concerns that increasing levels of obesity can create a public health crisis in Europe. Hence, there has been a strong surge of governmental initiatives for tackling the problem of obesity in the region. Hence, such developments are expected to contribute strongly to the market growth in the forecast period.

Despite strict regulatory scenarios in Europe, these positive trends in terms of the adoption of diet pills are expected to lead to the greater engagement of key companies. These companies are expected to engage in R&D initiatives for the development of new drugs, leading to launches of products with greater efficacy. As these drugs help individuals lose weight in conjunction with diet and exercise by reducing appetite, these products are expected to witness strong adoption rates. These positive market factors, coupled with anticipated product launches, are expected to increase and to lead the stellar market performance of these drugs in the forecast period.

Reduction of Hospital Visits due to COVID-19 Pandemic to Lower Market Growth in Europe

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the strong market growth of the Europe market as the government imposed lockdowns led to a strong decline in hospital visits. These declines in hospital visits in Europe have led to a decrease in the number of new prescriptions for weight loss, which has led to lower market growth in 2020. However, the strong adoption of online pharmacies in key countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany for repeat prescription refills has prevented the CAGR of 2020 from being in negative values. The sustained adoption of OTC diet pills in 2020 has also prevented a more pronounced negative impact.

In terms of the global scenario, Saxenda (liraglutide) registered a decline in revenues due to the fewer hospital visits in key countries such as the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in Europe and the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, Novo Nordisk A/S witnessed a strong sales trend for Saxenda. The company recorded an increase of approximately 15.0% over FY 2019. Some of the contributive reasons for the growth of Saxenda (liraglutide) may include greater adoption of telemedicine in the region coupled with the increase in usage of online pharmacies. However, the European market is recording trends of a market rebound. In FY 2021, Novo Nordisk A/S continued the strong trend of growth in Europe and the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), with the region recording a growth of 18.0% at CER and 10.0% in local currency terms.


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Surging Usage of Existing Diabetes Drugs as Weight Loss Medications to Emerge as a Popular Trend

One of the most prevalent trends witnessed in the market is that several existing medications which are being used for diabetes treatment are currently being considered for the treatment of obesity. This trend of the usage of diabetes drugs as anti-obesity medications is applicable for the currently approved products in the diet pills market as well as the upcoming product launches. One of the most important drugs in the diet medications market that is approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is Saxenda (liraglutide) by Novo Nordisk A/S. Liraglutide improves the control of blood glucose, and clinical studies stated by Novo Nordisk A/S indicate that 56% of the trial participants achieved significant weight loss at year 1.

The diet drug semaglutide by Novo Nordisk A/S (which is currently known as the anti-diabetic medication of Ozempic) is expected to be launched in Europe in 2022. In December 2020, the company submitted a marketing authorization application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). These diabetes drugs work as appetite suppressants in order to induce weight loss and are expected to significantly contribute to the surge of this market in the forecast period.


Increased Prevalence of Obesity to Drive Market Growth        

One of the most critical drivers that are positively impacting the Europe diet pills market growth is the substantial increase in the prevalence of obesity in Europe. In April 2021, the European Parliament launched the inter-group on obesity which called for a more efficient treatment and management plan for obesity. Europe has witnessed an unprecedented increase in the region’s obesity levels, with a 161.0% increase in obesity levels since 1975.

The prevalence of obesity has dramatically increased in Europe, with the region coming in second place in terms of obesity rates, only behind the United States. These statistics further confirm the fact that Europe faces a public health crisis due to the region’s increasing obesity rates. Obesity constitutes a serious public health problem, as it significantly increases the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers. In terms of the impact on society as a whole, it has significant direct and indirect cost implications, which would place considerable strain on healthcare and social resources.

According to the statistics reported by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an estimated 1 in 10 people are considered obese in France, and almost 40.0% are overweight (including obese). Such a strong prevalence of obesity in the key countries of Europe is expected to contribute significantly to the positive growth rate of Europe diet pills in the forecast period. All these factors are anticipated to lead to a surge in the patient population in Europe, which is expected to drive the growth of this market in the forecast period.

Strong Pipeline Candidates to Spur Market Growth

In Europe, the increase in the prevalence of obesity has been staggering, which has significantly increased the demand for effective therapeutic measures to combat the problem. As the problem of obesity is expected to grow over the next few decades, there is a greater need for the launch of new weight loss medications in the Europe market. This has led to the engagement of several established and emerging companies in the R&D initiatives for the product development of weight loss pills/medications.

For instance, the U.S.-based biopharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. currently has two pipeline drug candidates in Phase 1 of the clinical trials process. The company’s pipeline drug candidate of AMG 171, which is a fusion protein-drug, is in Phase 1 trials in the United States. Similarly, the company’s pipeline drug candidate of AMG 133, which is an antibody-peptide conjugate drug, is in Phase 1 trials in the United States. Such advancements in the R&D initiatives are expected to eventually lead to new product launches in Europe.

ERX Pharmaceuticals, an emerging clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, is currently in Phase 1 of the clinical trials process for the treatment of obesity. Their drug candidate ERX-1000, a first-in-class leptin sensitizer, is being developed for the treatment of obesity. In initial studies, the drug candidate has shown promise with ERX-1000, demonstrating an unprecedented 45% reduction in body weight in preclinical studies in diet-induced severely obese mice. Such developments reflect great promise in terms of future product launches, leading to the strong and sustained growth of this market.


Tough Regulatory Environment and Concerns of Side-effects to Hinder Growth

Despite a critical and increased need for effective weight loss medications, one of the strong hindrances towards market growth is the stringent regulatory scenario in Europe. There is a considerably difficult regulatory process for the approval of new diet medications, which may prevent many prominent biopharmaceutical companies from investing in this market. Companies in European countries need to clear strict regulatory hurdles for the approvals of new weight loss medications.

For instance, many regulatory bodies utilize a guideline of 5% total weight loss for the determination of whether a drug induces a meaningful weight loss. Such strong regulatory requirements would significantly hamper the market growth at the European level. Another critical restraining factor is the strong regulatory and personal concerns regarding the adverse reactions following the consumption of weight loss medications. While the stringent regulatory scenario in Europe limits the widespread introduction of new diet drugs, in certain cases, the adverse reactions associated with them may limit their adoption despite market presence.

In 2009, the launch of GlaxoSmithKline's alli (orlistat) was subject to opposition by the French regulatory body of Agence française de sécurité sanitaire des produits de santé (AFSSAPS). This opposition towards Alli and Xenical (orlistat) was repeated again in 2011 when the regulatory agency observed that there was a risk of rare but serious liver damage due to the consumption of these drugs. Furthermore, as Alli, which is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug, is sold without a prescription in France, this drug is subjected to nationwide pharmacovigilance monitoring. The AFSSAPS has also recommended that doctors warn the potential consumers of orlistat about the dangers of serious liver damage. Such observations by key regulatory bodies may further limit the adoption of diet pills in Europe.


By Product Type Analysis

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Prescription Segment to Grow at the Highest CAGR in 2021-2028

Based on the product type, the market can be segmented into prescription and over-the-counter (OTC).

In terms of the product type segment, the prescription segment accounted for the highest market share in 2020, which is attributable to the strong sales of prescription diet medications such as Saxenda (liraglutide). New and anticipated product launches in the prescription segment are also anticipated to further drive the growth of the segment during the forecast period. For instance, the diet medication of semaglutide by Novo Nordisk A/S (which is currently known as the anti-diabetic medication of Ozempic) is expected to be launched in Europe in 2022.

The over-the-counter (OTC) segment witnessed a comparatively lower CAGR in the forecast period. Some of the contributive reasons for the segment’s market share include the strong adoption of Alli (orlistat) as an OTC drug, and which requires no prescription. However, the lack of prominent new launches in this segment coupled with the increasing adoption and launches of prescription drugs is expected to lead to a decline in the segment’s market share in the forecast period.

By Application Analysis

Appetite Suppression to Emerge as the Dominant Segment in the Near Future

Based on application, the market is segmented into appetite suppression, fat blocking, and others. The appetite suppression segment is expected to account for the dominant segment during the forecast period. The appetite suppression segment accounted for the highest market share in 2020 of the Europe diet pills space, which is attributable to the increased adoption of Saxenda (liraglutide) in the Europe market. Greater usage of diabetes drugs as weight loss medication is also anticipated to further drive the growth of the segment during the forecast period. Furthermore, upcoming product launches in this segment in the forecast period are also expected to drive growth.

The fat blocking segment accounted for the second-highest market share in 2020 in the Europe diet pills space, owing to the presence of prominent products such as orlistat, which is available in the form of prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. However, the segment is anticipated to lose market share during the forecast period due to the lack of new launches in this segment and also the absence of patented drugs. The others segment accounted for a lower share of the market in 2020.

By Distribution Channel Analysis

Hospital Pharmacies Segment Held Dominant Share in 2020

Based on distribution channels, the Europe diet pills market is segmented into hospital pharmacies, drug stores & retail pharmacies, and online pharmacies. The hospital pharmacies segment is expected to account as the dominant segment in terms of Europe diet pills during the forecast period. The regulatory scenario in terms of pharmacies in a number of key European countries would enable the dominance of the hospital pharmacies segment, thus allowing them to gain strong preference among the people. Furthermore, as drugs like Saxenda (liraglutide) can only be prescribed after a thorough examination by healthcare professionals in these settings, this segment is expected to dominate the market in the forecast period.

The drug stores & retail pharmacies segment accounted for the second-highest market share in 2020, owing to the usage of the settings for the procurement of prescription refills and also the purchase of over-the-counter (OTC) diet pills. The online pharmacies segment is anticipated to grow at the highest CAGR due to positive regulatory recommendations by key government agencies such as the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom.


On the basis of country/sub-region, the Europe market can be segmented into Germany, the U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and the rest of Europe.

The market size in Europe stood at USD 237.1 million in 2020, and the region is expected to witness strong growth trends during the forecast period. The strong prevalence of obesity in the region, anticipated product launches, and increased concerns of obesity being Europe’s next public health crisis are expected to drive the market growth in the forecast period.

In terms of countries, Germany is expected to account for the highest market revenue share in 2020 in terms of Europe diet pills. Some of the reasons for the country’s strong market share include the strong prevalence of obesity in the country and the increased awareness regarding the looming obesity problem in the country. For instance, according to the projections by the Robert Koch Institut in Germany, two-thirds of men (67%) and half of the women (53%) in Germany are overweight. A quarter of adults (23% of men and 24% of women) can be considered to be obese.

The U.K. is projected to account for the second-highest share in terms of the Europe diet pills industry during the forecast period of 2021-28. For instance, according to the estimates by the Health Survey for England 2019, it was projected that 28.0% of adults in England are obese, and a further 36.2% are considered overweight. Such statistics are expected to further intensify the demand for diet medications in the country.

Other key countries in the market included France, Italy, and Spain. France is estimated to witness a relatively significant CAGR during the forecast period. The strong adoption of prescription medications, the growing prevalence of obesity, and the increasing awareness about obesity treatment is driving the growth of the market in the leading country. For Italy, the increasing penetration of major players across the country is another significant factor supporting a positive growth trajectory for the market in Europe. In Spain, the strong growth of the market is majorly due to the increasing incidence of obesity amongst the population of Spain.


Dedicated Obesity Drugs Portfolio of Novo Nordisk A/S to Elevate Company to Apex Position

In terms of the competitive landscape of Europe diet pills, the market is dominated by Novo Nordisk A/S due to the company’s key product offering of the prescription drug Saxenda (liraglutide). Furthermore, the company also holds a strong drug pipeline for diet medications which includes the pipeline drug of semaglutide. The company’s strong market revenue share in Europe coupled with the anticipated drug launches by the company in the forecast period is expected to contribute to its market dominance. Also, the positive reimbursement scenario with respect to Saxenda (liraglutide) in the United Kingdom is anticipated to contribute to the company’s market leadership.

Other key companies in the Europe market include F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline plc, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. due to their prominent diet pills portfolio. The prescription drug Xenical (orlistat) belongs to the portfolio of F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. GlaxoSmithKline plc holds the over-the-counter (OTC) drug of Alli (orlistat) in their product portfolio, while Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. manufactures the generic version of Alli (orlistat). Other main players include VIVUS Inc. and Currax Pharmaceuticals LLC, who are expected to engage in several strategic executions such as regulatory approvals to increase their diet pills market share in the europe.


  • F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd (Basel, Switzerland)

  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Petah Tikva, Israel)

  • GlaxoSmithKline plc (London, U.K.)

  • Novo Nordisk A/S (Bagsværd, Denmark)

  • Sandoz International GmbH (Novartis AG) (Holzkirchen, Germany)

  • VIVUS Inc. (Campbell, U.S.)

  • Currax Pharmaceuticals LLC (Morristown, U.S.)


  • March 2021 – Novo Nordisk stated that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had recommended the expansion of the usage of Saxenda for obesity treatment in adolescents of the age group of 12–17 years.

  • December 2020 – Novo Nordisk announced that the application for Marketing Authorization for semaglutide in obesity was submitted to the European Medicines Agency (EMA).


An Infographic Representation of Europe Diet Pills Market

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The Europe diet pills market research report provides detailed market analysis and focuses on key aspects such as the new product launches, insights: growth of online channels, overview: biggest brands & companies, and key industry developments. Additionally, it includes an overview of advertising trends, analysis on drug classes, and overview of Saxenda sales funding: private vs. public, and the impact of COVID-19 on the European market. Besides these, the report offers insights into market trends and highlights key strategies by key players. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.




Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD Million)


By Product Type

  • Prescription

  • Over-the-Counter (OTC)

By Application

  • Appetite Suppression

  • Fat Blocking

  • Others

By Distribution Channel

  • Hospital Pharmacies

  • Drug Stores & Retail Pharmacies

  • Online Pharmacies


By Geography

  • Europe

    • By Product Type

    • By Application

    • By Distribution Channel

    • By Country/Sub-Region (Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and Rest of Europe)

  • Germany

    • By Product Type

    • By Application

    • By Distribution Channel

  • The U.K.

    • By Product Type

    • By Application

    • By Distribution Channel

  • France

    • By Product Type

    • Application

    • By Distribution Channel

  • Italy

    • By Product Type

    • By Application

    • By Distribution Channel

  • Spain

    • By Product Type

    • By Application

    • By Distribution Channel

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the European market size was USD 237.1 million in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 1,411.1 million by 2028.

Registering a CAGR of 24.9%, the market will exhibit strong growth in the forecast period (2021-2028).

The prescription segment is expected to lead this market during the forecast period.

The rising prevalence of obesity in the region, the strong drug pipeline of key European market players, and the rising awareness of therapeutic intervention for obesity are the major factors driving the market's growth.

Novo Nordisk A/S is the major player in the market.

Germany dominated the market in 2020 in terms of share.

The expected launch of new medications, rising awareness among patients, and the increasing initiatives for tackling obesity in various countries of Europe are expected to drive the adoption of these products.

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