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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
    25 Mar

    Questions regarding use, storage, or disposal of OTC medicines? Check out the new one-stop resource from the CHPA Educational Foundation. "Like" if you support the OTC industry! www.knowyourotcs.org

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    23 Mar

    CHPA is currently recruiting a new Manager, Communications. If you are interested in applying or know of any qualified candidates, please contact jobs@chpa.org. https://lnkd.in/edjaCJu

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    19 Mar

    CHPA Lunch N’ Learn series: Our staff gathered for a political law compliance update presented by Ki Hong and Charlie Ricciardelli from Skadden law firm.

CHPA Highlights

CHPA Legislative Action

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