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What is an over-the-counter medicine?

What is an over-the-counter medicine?

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are sold directly to consumers without a prescription. There are approximately 800 OTC active ingredients available today that constitute more than 300,000 OTC medicines in the healthcare marketplace. They are sold in more than 750,000 retail outlets including pharmacies, grocery stores, convenience stores, mass merchandise retailers, etc. Like prescription drugs, OTC medicines are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are safe and effective when used as directed. The Drug Facts label instructs consumers on how to properly choose and use them. OTCs treat many common ailments including pain, fever, cough and cold, upset stomach, and allergies.

OTC medicines are the trusted first line of treatment for millions of consumers.


Who We Are

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 135-year-old national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $6-$7, contributing a total of $102 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to empowering consumer self-care by preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare products.

Learn More

Connect With Us


Connect with CHPA and KnowYourOTCs.org via social media.

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    9/29/2016 7:27:21 PM

    A shout-out to our CHPA Miriam's Kitchen team who continues to donate time each month to help this impressive local charity. For more info, visit https://lnkd.in/d_JY9eW

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    9/23/2016 1:49:52 PM

    We are thrilled to announce Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson as the keynote speaker at the CHPA Educational Foundation Inaugural Gala on November 14, 2016. Dr. Swanson is a general pediatrician and Executive Director of Digital Health at Seattle Children's Hospital, who has blazed a trail of patient education by using her voice online, through a variety of different channels in traditional and social media. Learn more about Dr. Swanson on her blog: https://lnkd.in/dnhku2u

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    9/14/2016 6:52:04 PM

    Today President and CEO Scott Melville kicked off our 2016 Market Exchange - two full days of industry insights, thought leadership, and networking. For more information, visit: www.chpa.org/MX/MTM.aspx

CHPA Highlights

CHPA Legislative Action

Visit our Legislative Action Center to reinstate OTC medicines in tax-preferred accounts.