Value Created by OTC Medicines Generates Billions in Savings to the U.S. Healthcare System

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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) today released findings from its 2022 Over-The-Counter (OTC) Value Study, once again showing that self-care with OTC medicines not only benefits individuals but also benefits the entire healthcare system. This year’s study found that on average, every dollar spent on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $7.33, resulting in an overall annual savings of $167.1 billion.

Conducted in partnership with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), the study analyzed survey results from more than 5,000 consumers in 2022. Cost savings were determined across two major categories: drug cost savings from consumers relying on more affordable OTC medicines rather than prescription drugs, and money saved by avoiding unnecessary doctor visits for minor ailments consumers can treat on their own thanks to OTCs.

Since CHPA conducted its last OTC Value Study in 2018, the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every part of society, significantly impacting the way people approach their health and well-being. Following three years of pandemic-fueled disruption, OTCs are an even more essential part of U.S. consumers’ treatment options, with this year’s study finding $56.8 billion in drug cost savings and $110.3 billion in cost savings from unneeded doctor’s visits. The research also estimates approximately 82 percent of consumers, who treat their symptoms with OTC medicines, would seek professional medical treatment instead if OTCs weren’t available in the marketplace.

 “Once again, the data is overwhelmingly clear – OTC medicines are essential to our nation’s healthcare system, saving billions of dollars and freeing up healthcare professionals by eliminating unnecessary medical appointments,” said CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville. “By empowering consumers to self-treat, OTC medicines help ease a tremendous burden on our nation’s healthcare system.”    

By mapping out a scenario where OTC medicines were unavailable, researchers were also able to determine that most consumers would instead go to a doctor, get a prescription, or delay treatment, all of which could mean more frequent absences from work, for example.

“Our study results show that the value created by the availability of OTC products is hard to overstate,” said Melville. “Beyond the billions in overall cost-savings, OTC products also provide substantial indirect value by affording $45 billion in annual workplace productivity benefits through fewer missed workdays and the expansion of treatment access to consumers in 33 million households who would otherwise forgo treatment if OTCs weren’t available. There are direct and indirect costs associated with each of the scenarios mapped out in our study – and they are enormous.”

For more information, infographics, and other materials regarding this research, visit the Value of OTC medicines webpage.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), founded in 1881, is the national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of consumer healthcare products, including over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, dietary supplements, and consumer medical devices. CHPA is committed to empowering self-care by ensuring that Americans have access to products they can count on to be reliable, affordable, and convenient, while also delivering new and better ways to get and stay healthy. Visit