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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 137-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.

  • Twitter profile image

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  • LinkedIn Story Image
    12/12/2018 6:44:06 PM

    Registration is now open for CHPA's 2019 Annual Executive Conference! This year's theme is "Leading for Tomorrow: The Evolution of Self-Care." Join us March 17-19, 2019 at the @BocaResort in Boca Raton, Florida. We hope to see you there! #AEC19 http://bit.ly/2L2Mzwq

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    11/29/2018 10:16:07 PM

    CHPA invites you to submit nominations for the 2019 Ivan D. Combe Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented at the CHPA Annual Executive Conference (AEC). Visit our website for more information! https://bit.ly/2Roc0Lg

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    11/27/2018 3:56:04 PM

    On this #GivingTuesday, consider supporting the CHPA Educational Foundation to help advance responsible self-care and provide education to families in need: https://lnkd.in/gmEUEsj

CHPA Highlights

CHPA's 2017 Annual Report

View our 2017 Annual Report.