An estimated 13 million Americans treating allergies with OTC meds would go without treatment if they had no nonprescription options to turn to. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The U.S. health care system should be very grateful for over-the-counter medications, according to a new study—because those meds save the system nearly $146 billion—that’s billion with a “b”—every year.

The Value of OTC Medicines to the U.S. Health Care System joint study, from IRI and the Consumer Health Products Association, finds that for every dollar spent on OTC medicines, an average of $7.20 is saved by the U.S. health care system. The study arrived at those numbers by considering “direct and indirect savings, driven by access to self-treatment and substitution of OTC products for prescription drugs,” the report says.

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.

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