New research shows that both consumers and physicians overwhelmingly choose and trust over-the-counter medicines.
And a whopping 98 percent of physicians, nurse practitioners and pharmacists say they recommend it to their patients, according to a new survey released Wednesday by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
For a range of illnesses, 8 in 10 consumers use OTC medicines to relieve their symptoms without having to see a health care professional, and 84 percent say they trust their health care provider’s advice on what OTC medicine they should take or give to others.
Nearly three-fourths of primary care physicians recommend OTC medicines to relieve symptoms before recommending a prescription treatment; and more than two-thirds of consumers prefer to use OTC medicines instead of a prescription when available, the poll notes.
“Amid a changing health care landscape, consumers and health care providers agree that OTC medicines are a trusted first line of treatment to alleviate symptoms,” CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville says.
The findings expand on data from a January 2012 study by Booz & Co. conducted on behalf of CHPA, which showed that OTC medicines save consumers and the healthcare system billions of dollars each year. The study found that for every dollar spent on OTC medicines, the U.S. health care system saves $6 to $7—an estimated $102 billion in value each year. This includes $25 billion in drug cost savings annually through the use of less expensive OTC medicines over prescription drugs, as well as $77 billion in clinical cost savings from avoided doctor’s office visits and diagnostic testing.
“The more consumers educate themselves about their OTC treatment choices—and continue to talk with their physicians and pharmacists about their health care options—the better that is for improving the health of all Americans and delivering healthcare savings throughout the health care system,” Melville says.
Roughly 1,500 households and 500 health care providers were surveyed.