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 prevention of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer in adults aged 50–59 years who meet certain requirements
  • 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 Connect portal 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.

Over-the-counter drug equivalents

Non-covered prescription drugs and their over-the-counter alternatives are listed below. You are responsible for the full cost if you choose to purchase the products that are not included in our drug list. Before changing your current medication regimen, please talk to your doctor or pharmacist about what medication is right for you and how to take an over-the-counter alternative.

CategoryNon-covered prescription drugsOTC products with same active ingredients 
Allergy – NasalBudesonide 32 mcg
Rhinocort 24-Hour Allergy OTC (budesonide 32 mcg)
Allergy – OralCetirizine HCl 1mg/mLCetirizine 1 mg/mL Oral Solution OTC

Children's Zyrtec Oral Solution OTC (cetirizine 5mg/5 mL) 
 AnalgesicsAspirin 325 mgAspirin 325 mg OTC

Bayer 325 mg OTC

Ecotrin 325 mg OTC
*Ibuprofen 400 mg, 600 mg, 800 mg, 100 mg/5 mLAdvil 200 mg OTC

Ibuprofen 200 mg OTC

Motrin 200 mg OTC

Children's Ibuprofen 100 mg/5 mL
Dietary SupplementsFerrous Sulfate 324 mg, 325 mg [elemental iron 65 mg]Feosol Original OTC (elemental iron 65 mg)

Ferrous Sulfate 325 mg OTC
Gastrointestinal (GI) – LaxativesPolyethylene Glycol 17 gm, 17 gm/doseMiralax 17 gm/dose OTC

Polyethylene Glycol 17 gm/dose OTC
Gastrointestinal (GI) – Proton Pump Inhibitors
*Lansoprazole 15 mg, 30 mgLansoprazole 15 mg OTC

Prevacid 15 mg OTC 
*Omeprazole 20 mg, 40 mgOmeprazole 20 mg OTC

Prilosec 20 mg OTC 
Topicals – AntibacterialNeomycin/Bacitracin/Polymyxin/Hydrocortisone 1%Neosporin + Cortizone 10 (hydrocortisone 1%)
Topicals – AntifungalButenafine HCl 1%Lotrimin Ultra, Mentax (butenafine 1%) 
Topicals – DermatologicalAluminum Chloride 20%Certain Dri (aluminum chloride 12%)

Xerac AC (aluminum chloride 6.25%) 
UrinaryOxybutynin 3.9 mg/24 HROxytrol 3.9 mg/24 HR 

*Speak with your doctor or pharmacist for instructions on how to take the OTC alternative.