NEW YORK — Results of a new survey released Thursday by the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest found that the majority of adult consumers and parents in the United States rely on over-the-counter cough medicines: 68% of adult consumers agreed that OTC cough medicines allow them to stay productive at work and school, and 60% of parents reported that these medicines allowed their children to stay productive at school.
From that survey, CMPI determined that as many as 61 million consumers in the past 12 months have avoided missing work, school or other scheduled appointments and 8.5 million households in the past 12 months have children ages four or older who have avoided missing school or daycare due to illness because their parents had access to OTC cough medicines to manage their symptoms.
“OTC cough medicines empower consumers to take control of their own healthcare, and offer families a vital option for cost-effective treatment that is available in real-time when illness strikes, especially during cough and cold season,” stated Robert Goldberg, CMPI VP. “This research is an indicator of what consumers want — they want convenient and affordable access to the medicines they trust to treat their symptoms — and their family members’ symptoms — and get them back to school or work without the hassle of having to see a doctor or take time off.”
The Cough Medicine Consumer Insights National Survey — a telephone survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18 years and older — offers key insights into consumer preferences during cough and cold season, and revealed American parents and adult consumers rely on OTC cough medicines as a first-line defense to treat symptoms in both their children and themselves.
Over the previous 12 months surveyed, more than half of adults (57%) reported taking OTC cough-cold medicines and 71% of parents had administered these medicines to their children older than age 4 to alleviate symptoms.
Consumers believe continued education is the most effective way to ensure appropriate OTC cough medicine use. The majority of adult consumers surveyed (87%) believe OTC cough medicine packages provide the necessary information to ensure appropriate use, and 85% said educating parents about the appropriate use and storage of medicines is the most effective way to ensure appropriate use.
While 94% of surveyed adults agreed that they “know what medicines are in my home and how much of each I have,” only 74% agreed that “medicines in my home are in a place where my children cannot access them” — pointing to the need for ongoing education about safe monitoring, storage and disposal of OTC medications in the home, particularly homes with young children and teenagers.
“Consumers recognize that continued education is one of the best ways to ensure these medicines are used appropriately," Goldberg said. "Purchasers of these products who have children at home should keep these — and all medicines — in a safe, secure place."
To read the key findings from the Cough Medicine Consumer Insights National Survey and the full presentation, click here.