Over-the-counter medication

Learn about non-covered prescription drugs and their over-the-counter equivalents.

Some prescription drugs have over-the-counter (OTC) equivalents available for purchase without a prescription and often at a lower price. Most health plans don't cover prescription medicines that have an OTC equivalent.

We’ve listed the OTC alternatives for our non-covered prescriptions in the table below.

We've also provided information on covered preventive drugs and products and how to find the best price when shopping for OTC medicine.

Preventive care benefit

Some over-the-counter products are listed as a preventive care benefit under California State or federal law and will be covered, but only with a prescription.

Covered preventive drugs recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force include:

  • FDA-approved tobacco cessation drugs
  • FDA-approved female contraceptives
  • Emergency contraception
  • Aspirin (81 mg) for the prevention of preeclampsia during pregnancy for women who meet certain requirements
  • Folic acid daily supplement (0.4 mg to 0.8 mg) to prevent birth defects

Preventive drugs are provided at $0 cost sharing subject to certain exceptions.

For more information regarding coverage of over-the-counter drugs as preventive drugs, please log in to your Sharp Health Plan online account to view your plan drug list and your Member Handbook under family planning and preventive care services.

Money-saving tips for OTC medications

To help you find the best price, we’ve listed our top money-saving tips on how to shop for OTC medicines.

checkbox Compare costs
Compare the listed prices for the drug on the shelf and for the same drug from the pharmacy window. The pharmacy window will offer it at their cash price, which may be cheaper.

checkbox Shop different types of stores
Warehouse stores like Costco® tend to have lower prices, as do national chains like Target®, Rite Aid® and Walmart®.

checkbox Look for a non-brand name medicine
Non-brand name medicines often cost less. Ask your pharmacist or prescribing provider for an alternative with the same active ingredients as your medication.

checkbox Check prices online
Stores may have different prices for the same OTC medicine, so be sure to look for the lowest pricing. Check for special offers, sales and coupons that can save you even more.

checkbox Buy in bulk when you can

Larger quantities of medications can be more cost-effective. Be sure to check the bottle’s expiration date, and purchase only what you’ll use by that date.

Have questions about over-the-counter medications? Visit our FAQ page.