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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
    22 Jul

    Our Market Exchange meeting, which focuses on making meaningful connections with consumer healthcare executives, will be held September 16-17 in Parsippany, NJ. Register by Friday to ensure early appointment requests: http://t.co/BW68BQjQBv

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    17 Jul

    In case you missed it... the video recap of this year's Annual Executive Conference is now available online. Be sure to check it out: http://bit.ly/1KaaLsl

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    14 Jul

    On the second Tuesday of each month, a few CHPA staff help with dinner service at Miriam's Kitchen. Barb Kochanowski, our vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs, started the tradition by suggesting we get involved in community service. We are lucky we get to help this unique non-profit group! For more information visit www.miriamskitchen.org

CHPA Highlights

CHPA Legislative Action

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