State Legislative Priorities

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The Consumer Healthcare Products Association represents the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, dietary supplements, and consumer medical devices. Through science, education, and advocacy, CHPA works to ensure consumer access to safe, effective, and convenient products for the treatment and prevention of many ailments and diseases.

CHPA Promotes Responsible Self-Care to Empower Consumers to Manage Their Health and Well-Being

CHPA advocates the appropriate recognition of the value of self-care, including:

  • Making healthy lifestyle choices (including physical activity and healthy eating to maintain good health and prevent illness)
  • Making responsible use of all medicines (both prescription and nonprescription)
  • Self-recognition of symptoms (assessing and addressing symptoms and seeking the assistance of a healthcare professional when necessary)
  • Self-monitoring (checking symptoms for signs of improvement or deterioration)
  • Self-management (managing symptoms alone, with the assistance of a healthcare professional when necessary, or in partnership with others with the same condition)

Self-Care is prominent in CHPA’s vision — Happier, healthier lives through responsible self-care — as well as our mission: Empower self-care by preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare products. The appropriate use of over-the-counter medicines plays an important role in managing one’s health, which has both personal and public benefits.

A recent study found that every dollar spent on over-the-counter medicines saves the United States healthcare system over $7 dollars each year totaling $146 billion in annual savings, and that without access to OTC medicine, over 60 million Americans would not seek treatment for their ailments at all.1

CHPA Opposes Costly, Inefficient, and Unnecessary Drug Take-Back Programs

CHPA advocates broad public awareness on the proper use, storage, and disposal of medicines as the most effective tool for addressing abuse, misuse, and environmental impacts of medicines. CHPA opposes mandatory, manufacturer-funded drug take-back programs, which add costs to otherwise affordable over-the-counter medications and do little to address drug diversion, abuse, or environmental protection. CHPA recommends safe medication storage and advises consumers to adhere to guidance published by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on proper medication disposal. CHPA is a strong supporter of the DEA bi-annual drug take-back days currently already in place, and the use of existing take-back bin/kiosks at law enforcement locations and retail pharmacies across the country. In partnership with the Pharmaceutical Product Stewardship Working Group (PPSWG), CHPA supports the promotion of — the most comprehensive database of drug disposal locations throughout the United States.

Product Stewardship, Packaging Mandates, & Sustainability

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), sometimes called product stewardship, uses punitive measures and/or “incentives” to encourage manufacturers to design environmentally-friendly products by holding producers responsible for the costs of managing their products from inception, until the product’s disposal/end of life. EPR may take the form of reuse, buy-back, recycling programs, or in energy production from waste materials. OTC medicines are an affordable, accessible, and effective first line of defense for millions of Americans to treat commonly occurring ailments. Therefore, product stewardship state mandates may conflict with federal packaging laws and impose significant cost burdens on the consumer. At CHPA, we monitor states and key localities partnering with third parties promoting these policies and support the industry’s efforts to create better sustainable practices for their products.

Many manufacturers already have recycling efforts in place to encourage the development of more sustainable products, while remaining compliant with federal law. Johnson & Johnson launched their Earthwards initiative that focuses on integrating sustainable design solutions into their product innovation process. In 2018, they announced their commitment to being part of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, “pledging to use more recycled materials in packaging, reduce reliance on the single-use model; and ensure that 100% of plastic packaging be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.”2

Procter & Gamble has a 2020 sustainability goal to reduce packaging by 20% per consumer use. P&G also announced an initiative titled Ambition 2030 which sets a goal for the company to ensure 100% of their packaging will be recyclable or reusable by 2030. CHPA opposes state-specific packaging mandates and legislative efforts that will negatively impact OTC products.

CHPA Supports the Fight Against Diversion of Pseudoephedrine by Criminals While Maintaining Access to Cold and Allergy Medications

Pseudoephedrine (PSE), is a safe, effective, FDA approved decongestant that is at times used by criminals to manufacture methamphetamine. Federal sales restrictions on pseudoephedrine products, established by the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act (CMEA) in 2006, have significantly reduced the number of domestic methamphetamine labs. In an effort to continue the fight against clandestine meth labs, CHPA member companies created and fully fund the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), a multi-state electronic PSE real-time, stop-sale system. NPLEx prevents individuals from evading the purchase limits on PSE while preserving access to consumers and providing law enforcement with tools to help track down meth manufacturers. NPLEx blocks illegal PSE sales and prevents the medication from ever leaving the store. The system has been adopted by 35 states nationwide and it has worked to block millions upon millions of illegal PSE purchases from ever occurring. CHPA supports a nationwide electronic system as a tool to enforce purchase limits by preventing the illegal purchase of products containing PSE.

Prohibiting Cough Medicine Sales to Minors

Every year, millions of Americans use OTC medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to relieve cough symptoms. Cough medicine with DXM has been available over-the-counter in the United States for more than 50 years and is safe and effective when taken as recommended. However, according to the 2019 National Institute on Drug Abuse Monitoring the Future study, three percent of teenagers have intentionally taken exceedingly large amounts of cough medicine containing DXM to get high. CHPA supports federal and state efforts prohibiting the sale of cough medicine to those under the age of 18. CHPA opposes legislation, however, requiring these medications be placed behind the pharmacy counter. As of February 2020, 20 states have enacted age-18 restrictions for products containing DXM. No state requires behind-the-counter placement of these medicines.

Tax Support for OTCs

OTC medicines play an important role in the health status of millions of Americans and are a safe and affordable component of the nation’s healthcare system. While 43 of the 45 states with a sales tax currently exempt prescription drugs from sales tax, only 13 states and the District of Columbia exempt OTC medicines. CHPA believes OTC medicines should be exempt from sales tax in all states as a way to encourage treatment for common ailments before they become serious.

CHPA Opposes Bills that Violate Federal Preemption Provisions

Federal drug labeling requirements in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act preempt state and local measures. This ensures that consumers receive consistent, accurate information about how to choose the medicines that are right for them and how to use those medicines appropriately.

CHPA Opposes State-Specific Labeling Requirements for Dietary Supplements

CHPA fully supports full implementation and enforcement of the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and is pleased that FDA released its final rule for dietary supplement Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). This rule establishes uniform standards and ensures that dietary supplements are produced in a quality manner, do not contain contaminants or impurities, and are accurately labeled.




Staff Contacts

Carlos Gutierrez Headshot in suit and red tie
Vice President, State & Local Government Affairs
Robbie McLuckie Headshot in grey suit and lilac tie
Senior Manager, State & Local Government Affairs – Eastern Region