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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
    1/13/2017 8:36:20 PM

    Updating your 2017 calendar? Don't forget to plan for the CHPA Annual Executive Conference, March 19-22 in Amelia Island, Fla. Registration is now open at https://lnkd.in/dav5ztj #AEC17

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    1/11/2017 8:11:48 PM

    Change is disruptive, but it also leads to opportunities. Check out the 2016 Annual Report to see how we responded to – and sometimes created – disruption on Capitol Hill, in the marketplace, and in communities across the country last year. https://lnkd.in/d38G5rQ

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    1/6/2017 4:01:54 PM

    Happy New Year from CHPA! Thank you for your tremendous support of our LinkedIn page. We now have over 1,000 followers and look forward to continuing to share our updates with you in 2017!

CHPA Highlights

CHPA Legislative Action

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