Survey reveals healthcare providers’ trust in OTC agents


Almost all primary care physicians (PCPs), nurse practitioners, and pharmacists trust and recommend over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to their patients, according to a new survey released by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA). 

The survey, "Understanding Trust in OTC Medicines: Consumer and Healthcare Provider Perspectives," was conducted in March by Nielsen and IMS on behalf of CHPA to determine factors that drive trust in OTC medicines for healthcare providers and consumers. Both reported the most important factors in determining trust are that an OTC medicine will work consistently and is as effective as a prescription. â€¨â€¨Other highlights from the survey:


1) Nearly three-fourths of PCPs recommend OTC medicines to relieve symptoms before recommending a prescription treatment.

2) 84% of consumers say they trust their healthcare provider’s advice on what OTC medicine they should take or give to others.

3) For a range of illnesses, 8 in 10 consumers use OTC medicines to relieve their symptoms without seeing a healthcare professional. 

4) More than two-thirds of consumers prefer to use OTC medicines instead of a prescription when available.

“This new survey clearly shows that, amid a changing healthcare landscape, consumers and healthcare providers agree that OTC medicines are a trusted first line of treatment to alleviate symptoms,” said Scott Melville, CHPA president and chief executive officer. “The more consumers educate themselves about their OTC treatment choices-and continue to talk with their physicians and pharmacists about their healthcare options-the better that is for improving the health of all Americans and delivering healthcare savings throughout the healthcare system.”

The findings expand on data from a January 2012 study by Booz & Co. conducted on behalf of CHPA. That study, "The Value of OTC Medicine to the United States," found that OTC medicines save consumers and the healthcare system billions of dollars each year. It also found that for every dollar spent on OTC medicines, the U.S. healthcare system saves $6 to $7 - providing $102 billion in value each year. This amount includes $25 billion in drug cost savings annually through the use of less expensive OTC products over prescription drugs, as well as $77 billion in clinical cost savings from avoided doctor’s office visits and diagnostic testing.

CHPA is the trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of OTC medicines and dietary supplements.

Click here for the survey white paper.

Click here for survey data summary slides. 

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