Press release

IRI and CHPA Study Finds OTC Medicines Save U.S. Health Care System $146 Billion Each Year

Sponsored by Businesswire

IRI®, a global leader in innovative solutions and services
for consumer, retail and media companies, and the Consumer Health
Products Association (CHPA), today released a joint study, “Value
of OTC Medicines to the U.S. Health Care System,”
quantifies the savings value over-the-counter (OTC) medicine and
products afford the U.S. health care system and patients each year. The
landmark study found that, on average, each dollar spent on OTC
medicines saves the U.S. health care system approximately $7.20,
totaling nearly $146 billion in annual savings.

“Our study results show that the value created by the availability of
OTC products is hard to overstate,” said Scott Melville, president and
chief executive officer of CHPA. “Beyond the $146 billion our study
quantified in direct savings, OTC products also provide substantial
indirect value by affording increased productivity through fewer missed
work days and the expansion of treatment access to 27 million Americans
who would otherwise forgo treatment if OTCs were not available.”

The study examined survey results of more than 5,000 consumers who
participate in IRI’s National Consumer Panel and determined that direct
cost savings due to the availability of OTC medicine come from two
primary sources: the substitution of lower-priced OTCs for expensive
prescription drugs and the substitution of self-treatment for clinical
visits. IRI and CHPA found that these two primary impacts of OTC drug
availability contribute nearly $52 billion and $95 billion in respective
cost savings annually.

The estimated savings from unnecessary clinical visits is based on the
study’s finding that nearly 90 percent of consumers who treat a
condition with an OTC medicine would seek professional medical treatment
if OTC options were not available.

“It is clear that OTC medicines help reduce the overall burden on the
U.S. health care system by promoting consumer self-care and in turn
provide health care practitioners with the incremental time and
resources to invest in the diagnosis and treatment of more serious
ailments and conditions,” said Navin Gautam, executive, Client Insights,

Additional key findings from the study include:

  • 61 percent of the total OTC savings from drug costs, or the
    price difference between the OTC products and their prescription
    counterparts, are driven by OTC products treating three ailment
    categories – medicated skin, lower GI and upper GI.
  • 13 million Americans who receive allergy treatment from OTC
    medicines would forgo treatment for their conditions if
    nonprescription options were not available.
  • $34 billion in potential workplace productivity benefits would
    be lost annually while patients missed work hours to seek treatment or
    obtain a prescription in the absence of OTC products.
  • $7.7 billion in costs for treatment and testing are avoided
    each year through the use of OTC medical devices, including products
    for pain relief, foot comfort and care, heat/ice packs, muscle
    stimulators and asthma inhalers.

About the Report

“Value of OTC Medicines to the U.S. Health Care System” is a free report
available from IRI and CHPA. To download the report and access more
information, infographics, videos and other materials regarding this
research, visit
To learn more about the study, contact Navin Gautam at

About IRI

IRI is a leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and
forward-looking insights that help CPG, OTC health care organizations,
retailers, financial services and media companies grow their businesses.
A confluence of major external events – a change in consumer buying
habits, big data coming into its own, advanced analytics and
personalized consumer activation – is leading to a seismic shift in
drivers of success in all industries. With the largest repository of
purchase, media, social, causal and loyalty data, all integrated on an
on-demand, cloud-based technology platform, IRI is empowering the
personalization revolution, helping to guide its more than 5,000 clients
around the world in their quests to remain relentlessly relevant,
capture market share, connect with consumers, collaborate with key
constituents and deliver market-leading growth. For more information,