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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 138-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 more than $7, contributing a total of $146 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to empowering consumer self-care by preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare products.

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Connect With Us


Connect with CHPA and KnowYourOTCs.org via social media.

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    4/16/2019 4:53:35 PM

    Join the CHPA Educational Foundation for their 4th annual Gala at @ThePlazaHotel on November 12. It will be a great night, celebrating the Foundation’s mission of happier, healthier lives through responsible self-care! Reserve your table now! http://bit.ly/2InEXWK

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    4/10/2019 2:42:41 PM

    CHPA applauds Senators Pat Roberts, Angus King, Johnny Isakson, and Joe Manchin on the introduction of bipartisan legislation that would restore the ability of consumers to use their tax-preferred FSAs and HSAs to purchase OTC medicines. https://bit.ly/2IbuVYL

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    4/8/2019 4:58:34 PM

    April 7-13 marks World Allergy Week! Did you know that over 13 million Americans solely rely on OTC treatments to safely and effectively relieve allergy symptoms? Check out more stats on OTC allergy treatment use here https://bit.ly/2UDeWZs

CHPA Highlights

CHPA's 2018 Annual Report

View our 2018 Annual Report.