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Painkillers ease suffering of 10.5 million Aussies per month

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January–December 2014 (n=15,944). Base: Australians 14+

Let’s face it: life isn’t all sunshine and flowers. It can be downright painful: physically, emotionally, existentially. Fortunately for those of us suffering from aches and pains of the physical variety, pharmaceuticals can provide much-needed relief. In fact, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research show that over 10.5 million Australians aged 14+ (55% of the population) buy headache/pain relief tablets or capsules in an average four weeks.

People living in the country are slightly more likely to buy them than capital-city dwellers: last year, 57% of country residents aged 14 and over bought painkillers in an average four weeks, compared to 53% of their capital city counterparts.

A higher proportion of Queenslanders (60%) buy painkillers compared to residents of other states. People living in Darwin/Alice Springs (57%) are also marginally above average in purchase incidence, while those living in Tasmania (51%) are the least likely to buy painkillers in any given four weeks.

Proportion of Australians who buy painkillers in an average 4 weeks by state of residence


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January–December 2014 (n=15,944). Base: Australians 14+

Across all states and territories, in city and country areas, Panadol is Australia’s most popular brand of headache/pain relief tablet or capsule; followed by Nurofen.

Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Readily available at chemists (the most popular place of purchase), supermarkets (almost as popular as chemists) and even discount stores, headache/pain-relief tablets and capsules are purchased by 55% of Australians 14+ in any given four-week period. 

“Our data shows that people living in Queensland are more likely to buy painkillers than those from any other state. Upon further investigation, we also find that Queensland residents are 16% more likely the average Australian to suffer from frequent headaches and 15% more likely to suffer from migraines. This would almost certainly contribute to their above-average tendency to buy painkillers.

 “Whichever way you look at it, the Australian pain relief market is enormous, and represents an excellent opportunity for brands to grow their share with the help of some well-executed, targeted marketing.

“Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey is Australia’s largest and most comprehensive study of the country’s painkiller buyers, and contains the data to enable brands to identify and understand those consumers most likely to buy their products.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%