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CHPA study: OTC meds save U.S. $102 billion


WASHINgTON — A Consumer Healthcare Products Association study earlier this year supported what everyone has known all along: Use of over-the-counter medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system money. A lot of it. 

For every dollar spent on over-the-counter medicines, the U.S. healthcare system realizes a savings of between $6 and $7, or $102 billion all told, according to CHPA’s study, “The Value of OTC Medicine to the United States.”

According to the study, an estimated 240 million people rely on OTC medicines for symptomatic relief of the seven most common self-treatable conditions. The study evaluated how consumers would treat these seven conditions if they did not have access to OTC medicines. The total value equates to the total direct savings from avoided clinical visits and diagnostic testing ($77 billion) and use of less costly OTC medicines, rather than more costly prescriptions ($25 billion). 

The study also found that by keeping the American workforce healthy and at work, OTC medicines offer $23 billion in potential additional productivity benefits from doctor’s office visits avoided and time not having to be away from work for medical appointments. Booz & Co. surveyed 3,200 consumers for the study.

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