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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 136-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
    3/22/2017 5:31:23 PM

    It has been a busy few days at the 2017 AEC. Highlights have included an early morning beach run, inspirational and informative speakers, and great opportunities to network with industry executives. Thank you to all who helped make this year's conference a success!

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    3/21/2017 6:59:43 PM

    Our Annual Executive Conference is full swing in Amelia Island, Fla. Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Ivan D. Combe Lifetime Achievement Award - Jim Cope and Bob Donovan (pictured below). For more details, visit https://lnkd.in/d4gr8Dx

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    3/9/2017 7:26:20 PM

    We are excited to collaborate with the American Herbal Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, and the United Natural Products Alliance to present a Dietary Supplements Seminar on May 10 in Bethesda, Md., featuring updates and insights from FDA and industry regulatory experts, focused on the key regulatory compliance issues facing the dietary supplements industry. For more information or to register, go to: https://lnkd.in/d8CkRKk

CHPA Highlights

CHPA's 2016 Annual Report

View our 2016 Annual Report.