Over-the-counter medicines are a reliable and affordable way of maintaining wellness for millions of American families. OTC medicines not only treat the symptoms of common ailments but also help prevent a number of costly chronic conditions through products like smoking cessation programs.
The average American household spends approximately $442 on non-prescribed OTC medicines per year while the average senior citizen spends $356 yearly. Many states have already acknowledged the therapeutic value and cost-effectiveness of OTC medicines and allow a retail sales tax exemption for the purchase of these products. Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia do not levy sales taxes on OTC medicines.
Given that prescription medications filled at pharmacies are universally exempt from sales tax, over-the-counter drugs merit the same tax-free status. State and local authorities aiming to support public health should strongly consider aligning tax codes so these essential, everyday healthcare products remain affordable and accessible to all, especially vulnerable low-income populations.