Higher peaks in hay fever medication turnover in 2018

© Hollandse Hoogte / EyeEm Mobile GmbH
In 2018, people suffering from hay fever bought their pollen allergy medication relatively late in the year. On the other hand, pharmacy sales of hay fever medication showed higher peaks in April and May than in the same period last year. The allergenic pollen concentration in the air was higher in these two months than one year previously. This is demonstrated by new, experimental figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) which are based on the weekly pharmacy turnover of hay fever medication.

This concerns over-the-counter medication in the form of tablets, nasal sprays or eye drops. Peaks in turnover are usually preceded by peaks in pollen counts in the air. This year, the allergenic pollen count reached its first peak in mid-April; a few weeks later than in 2017, but the measured concentrations were higher.
Likewise, sales of hay fever medication started to increase a few weeks later than in 2017 while the peak in turnover was also higher. The second turnover peak in 2018 followed the first one more shortly afterwards and was also higher than last year’s.

Highest peak during air presence of grass pollen

Every year, early spring - around the beginning of April – marks an increase in the sales of over-the-counter hay fever medication. This is also the period when pollen released by certain tree varieties such as birches trigger allergic reactions. Later on in the season at the end of May/beginning of June, when grass pollen are present in the air, the highest peak in sales is seen each year. This is likely due to the fact that many hay fever sufferers are affected by grass pollen. The time when the pollen concentration is highest is partly dependent on weather conditions.

 Turnover index medication (2016=100)Most allergenic pollen per m3 of air
2016 126.524
2016 223.43
2016 322.413
2016 424.3107
2016 527.51013
2016 632.9269
2016 730263
2016 835.2179
2016 934.9133
2016 1065.9276
2016 1195.3303
2016 1273.4199
2016 1392.442
2016 14134.71177
2016 15228.43475
2016 16179.9363
2016 17108.6282
2016 18326.3711
2016 19373.3231
2016 20182.9204
2016 21259.785
2016 22510.4506
2016 23561.1563
2016 24159.939
2016 25142.1167
2016 261130
2016 27135.2510
2016 28119.1195
2016 29123181
2016 3088.416
2016 3168.768
2016 3262.198
2016 3367.782
2016 3465.1105
2016 3557.273
2016 3654.5102
2016 3753.344
2016 3851.848
2016 3944.771
2016 4041.79
2016 4133.79
2016 4229.73
2016 4328.11
2016 4425.40
2016 4522.51
2016 4621.41
2016 4723.61
2016 4822.40
2016 4920.70
2016 5022.50
2016 5127.20
2016 5226.66
2017 124.96
2017 222.521
2017 322.17
2017 424.910
2017 525.918
2017 6233
2017 731.2351
2017 840.4880
2017 953.8150
2017 1065.347
2017 11111.3124
2017 12110.79
2017 13221.32623
2017 14184.81017
2017 15172.5381
2017 16120.8143
2017 17115.393
2017 18126.764
2017 19144.726
2017 20171.5171
2017 21420.1
2017 22505.9290
2017 23272.9307
2017 24297.9139
2017 25238235
2017 26126122
2017 27129.6156
2017 28103.781
2017 29109.325
2017 3083.364
2017 3173.950
2017 3262.663
2017 3356.965
2017 3464.662
2017 355626
2017 3644.37
2017 3737.725
2017 3837.731
2017 3933.917
2017 4030.520
2017 4130.56
2017 4230.11
2017 4330.61
2017 4430.21
2017 4527.40
2017 4624.90
2017 4725.70
2017 4825.50
2017 4921.93
2017 5025.10
2017 5133.22
2017 5232.648
2018 129.15
2018 227.270
2018 325.923
2018 431.8143
2018 534.460
2018 631.2143
2018 733.1262
2018 838.3217
2018 933.584
2018 1058.91054
2018 1183.3237
2018 1266.742
2018 1378.58
2018 14126.1330
2018 15263.23709
2018 16540.14398
2018 17257.8380
2018 1823145
2018 19293.788
2018 20204.9120
2018 21607.4661

New turnover index of hay fever medication

Turnover index of hay fever medication is based on weekly sales figures obtained from Dutch pharmacies. This involves so-called self-medication products which are available without prescription at a pharmacy (drugstore). This type of medication is in the form of tablets, nasal sprays or eye drops which alleviate allergic reactions. These weekly data have been processed by the CBS Centre for Big Data Statistics (CBDS) into a weekly turnover index of hay fever medication. The turnover index is not designed to provide the total sales volume of hay fever medication in the Netherlands, but to give more insight into the development of weekly sales during the hay fever season and the purchasing moments of consumers. Read more about this innovative project on the innovation page.