CHPA Statement on ACCP's Cough Guidelines

The following is a statement from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association in response to the American College of Chest Physicians’ recent guidelines regarding the efficacy of over-the-counter cough medicines:

Washington, D.C. (January 11, 2006)—Over-the-counter medicines provide safe and effective relief for millions of consumers each year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies world-wide support the use of over-the-counter (OTC) cough/cold products for providing relief of coughs and other symptoms associated with the common cold, and studies demonstrate symptom relief among consumers using these products.

We agree with the American College of Chest Physicians recommendation that any chronic cough condition should be addressed by a healthcare professional. But, we stand by the judgments reached by leading regulatory agencies that OTC cough/cold medicines are safe and effective for the symptoms stated on their labels and when used as directed.

OTC medicines play a valuable role in helping consumers combat their cold symptoms. For example, a 2004 study released by Northwestern University and commissioned by CHPA shows that using OTCs to treat certain upper respiratory infections may save as much as $4.75 billion annually. This study confirms that not only do these consumers receive relief from their cold and flu symptoms, the U.S. economy and healthcare system also receive relief from lost worker productivity, unnecessary physician visits, and inappropriate use of prescription drugs. Ultimately, as with any medicine, the best advice is to follow label directions carefully on all over-the-counter medicines, including the warnings to seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

For background information about the Northwestern study and its findings, click here.

Contacts: Elizabeth Assey and Virginia Cox, 202.429.9260


CHPA is the 125-year-old trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplement products.