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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

CHPA is the not-for-profit association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.

CHPA is one of the oldest trade associations in the United States and represents one of the most dynamic, cost-effective segments in the healthcare environment today.

Learn More

Connect With Us


Connect with CHPA and KnowYourOTCs.org via social media.

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    23 Nov

    Today CHPA staff showed off their culinary skills during a pre-holiday potluck lunch. Happy early Thanksgiving!

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    20 Nov

    Registration is now open for our 2016 Annual Executive Conference, March 14-16 in Aventura, Fla. During three comprehensive days, we’ll explore how we can embrace disruption to transform the consumer healthcare industry. Learn more at www.chpa.org/AEC.

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    18 Nov

    It was privilege to welcome Jim Cope, who served as CHPA President for 32 years (1967-1999) back to the CHPA office today. Jim joined us for a staff Lunch N’ Learn to share insights and stories from his long tenure at CHPA. Thank you Jim for your contributions to the OTC industry!

CHPA Highlights

CHPA Legislative Action

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