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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 136-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.

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    2/22/2017 2:42:10 PM

    We are looking forward to the 3rd annual CHPA Educational Foundation Fun Run & Walk, hosted by Healthgrades, Inc., on March 21 in Amelia Island, Fla. Register at https://lnkd.in/dKe9zyi

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    2/16/2017 3:40:13 PM

    Over the past two years, the CHPA State & Local Government Affairs team has been working with state legislatures to recognize the importance of self-care and value of OTCs to the overall healthcare system in the U.S. by passing resolutions/memorials and proclamations designating February as Self-Care Awareness Month. To date, we are excited to announce the following states have taken this action: Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    1/31/2017 2:56:27 PM

    We are currently recruiting for a Director, Communications & Media Relations. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the CHPA team, let us know! https://lnkd.in/dqiVsgQ

CHPA Highlights

CHPA's 2016 Annual Report

View our 2016 Annual Report.