Over-the-Counter Drugs

Health care products

Steve Debenport

Americans routinely use over-the-counter (OTC) products—from cough and cold medicines to sunscreens—to protect their health and treat illnesses. These medications carry risks, and when new or previously unknown safety issues emerge, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must be able to respond quickly. That’s often challenging under the agency’s current OTC oversight system, which regulates more than 300,000 products.

Pew worked to strengthen and streamline FDA’s oversight of OTC drugs so that the agency could swiftly address safety risks and protect consumers’ health.


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Getty Images

Congress Passes Legislation to Reform Over-the-Counter Drug Regulation

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Congress Passes Legislation to Reform Over-the-Counter Drug Regulation

Congress gave final approval March 27 to long-needed legislation that will improve the safety of over-the-counter (OTC) medications.


Spotlight on Mental Health

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Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

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How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

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Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.