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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.

Learn More

Connect With Us


Connect with CHPA and KnowYourOTCs.org via social media.

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    5/16/2019 2:29:26 PM

    Great meeting introducing Senator Romney to the Responsible Industry, its economic impact, and key issues facing the industry! #DietarySupplements

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    5/15/2019 6:15:17 PM

    Don't miss the opportunity to explore how developments in AI are driving speed to market and giving the consumer a “seat at the table" during the featured session "AI2: Using Artificial Intelligence to Accelerate Innovation" with Provisor Marketing founding partners Kate Jones and Julie McPeek. Learn more and register today for CHPA's 2019 Marketing Conference! http://bit.ly/2EaIvI9 #marketing #innovation #ai #CHPAMC19

  • LinkedIn Story Image
    5/9/2019 5:27:46 PM

    Watch this video update from Anita Brikman, CHPA's SVP, Communications & Public Affairs, & Executive Director, CHPA Educational Foundation. Anita talks about what CHPA and our Foundations did to help promote the most recent National Drug Take-Back Day https://bit.ly/2H8nUWO

CHPA Highlights

CHPA's 2018 Annual Report

View our 2018 Annual Report.