CHPA Celebrates Its 125 Years of Service

Association highlights significant milestone at annual conference

Aventura, Florida (March 17, 2006)—One of the oldest trade associations in the country, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), celebrated a significant milestone at its annual meeting. Over 300 participants from government, business, and media sectors participated in the meeting to mark CHPA’s 125th anniversary. Reflecting upon this milestone, CHPA Chair Timothy G. Hayes, senior vice president and region head, North America, Bayer HealthCare LLC, commented, “The consumer of today has more quality healthcare options and more confidence in their safety and effectiveness. Given how far the over-the-counter medicine and nutritional supplement industry has progressed since CHPA’s founding in 1881, it is exciting to think about what lies ahead.”

The past as prologue

Established in November 1881, by a small number of companies, The Proprietary Association, as it was known then, embarked upon a two-fold mission: to repeal a Civil War tax on what were known as “proprietary” medicines and to ensure continued consumer access to convenient medications.

While The Proprietary Association pre-dated what would become the industry’s primary regulator, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Association has worked in step with FDA—which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year—through many significant regulatory initiatives:

  • In 1914, the Association responded to a government call for greater self-regulation and adopted a code of standards for its membership.
  • 1938 provided the Association with the opportunity to consult with Congress on landmark passage of the federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act.
  • During the 1950s and 1960s, members of the Association increased their own self-regulation programs in response to the 1951 Durham-Humphrey and 1962 Kefauver-Harris amendments.
  • In 1976, the first of the modern-day Rx-to-OTC switches took place. That successful switch has led the way to almost 80 ingredients, dosages, or indications making the switch to OTC status.
  • 1977 saw a significant expansion in the Association’s formal voluntary programs for the labeling, packaging, and formulation of products, many of which were later codified into federal regulation.
  • In response to the medicine tamperings of 1982, the Association and industry worked hand-in-hand with regulators to develop tamper-evident packaging regulations in only five weeks and, as a result, earned the FDA’s commendation for its efforts.
  • In 1997, the Association’s long-term commitment to national uniformity came to fruition. Nearly 100 national and state organizations, representing consumers, health professionals, seniors, and retailers, supported the national uniformity provisions advanced by this Association.
  • CHPA added nutritional supplements to its portfolio of represented products in 1998.
  • In 1999, the OTC medicine Drug Facts label became final. For years, industry and FDA had struggled to develop a standardized label that consumers could easily follow to safely and effectively use OTCs. These efforts were jump-started by our Association’s voluntary program on label readability guidelines.
  • Most recently, in 2003, OTCs became eligible for flexible spending and health savings accounts.

CHPA's look to the future

"This milestone anniversary is the ideal time to introduce a fresh new look for the Association,” according to CHPA President Linda A. Suydam. CHPA unveiled a new logo at its annual meeting. “CHPA’s new logo reinforces the singular consumer focus of the industry and emphasizes the increasingly prominent role of OTCs and nutritional supplements in the lives of consumers,” Suydam pointed out.

“Despite our modern new look,” Suydam continued, “we remain—as we were when we founded in 1881—dedicated to promoting the increasingly vital role of over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements in America's healthcare system through science, education, and advocacy.”

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.