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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
    10 Feb

    Join us for an OTC Academy workshop this May 17-18 on Product Stability: Microbiological Testing. This workshop precedes our Regulatory, Scientific & Quality Conference which will start on May 19. To register, visit: https://lnkd.in/es4zY6S

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    4 Feb

    CHPA is honored to partner with CADCA on the 2016 Dose of Prevention Award. Congratulations to Shelby County Drug Free Coalition! More details here: https://lnkd.in/eVpUxNZ

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    28 Jan

    As much of the East Coast continues to dig out from last weekend's snowstorm, we are even more excited about our 2016 Annual Executive Conference, March 14-16, in sunny Aventura, Fla. Our early-bird registration deadline is this Friday! Learn more at www.chpa.org/AEC

CHPA Highlights

CHPA Legislative Action

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