Understanding Consumer Medical Devices

Understanding Consumer Medical Devices

What is a Consumer Medical Device?

Consumer Medical Devices (CMD) are products that you can buy without a prescription at your local pharmacy, grocery, convenience store, or online. CMDs are used to help treat or prevent common health problems – with no formal medical training required. From toothbrushes and band-aids to hearing aids and pregnancy tests, you may be surprised by how many of these products are available for you to use every day.

Wound Care

These products cover and protect minor cuts, scrapes, and wounds. They are made up of gauze or padding and an adhesive strip to keep them in place. They also come indifferent shapes and sizes with some even having added benefits like antibiotic ointment on the bandage. They can be easily applied, removed, and disposed of to help keep your wound clean and promote healing.

Common Product example:

There are other CMD's available that also keep your cuts, scrapes, and wounds clean while they heal. Some of these products go the extra mile and aid in the removal of scars through the use of patches, sheets, and gels.

Common Product examples:

  • ScarAway® Silicone Daily Discs
  • New-Skin® Liquid Bandage Sensitive Skin
  • Nexcare™ Steri-Strip™ Wound Closure

Hearing Aids

A new entry into the CMD market, these devices are for adults (18+) that suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss. Sales of OTC hearing aids started in late 2022, so be on the lookout for them at your local retail store. In addition to buying in-store, you also have the option to purchase OTC hearing aids online.

Common Product example:

  • Nuheara's HP Hearing PRO

Oral Care

Maintaining good oral care is important for your overall health, and there are a variety of CMDs available that can help. Toothbrushes, mouthwash, dental floss, and water flossers are all examples of CMDs and are great options to keep your teeth and gums healthy all year long. There are also CMDs that are specific for denture care, including daily cleaners and adhesive creams.

Common Product examples:

  • Oral-B iO™ Series electric toothbrushes
  • LISTERINE® Mouthwash
  • Colgate® Total™ Mouthwash for Gum Health
  • Polident Super Poligrip Original Denture Adhesive Cream

Foot Care

Whether you’re standing for long periods of time at work, or walking an average of 5,000 steps a day, we’re constantly on our feet and that can sometimes lead to aches, pains, and dryness. Luckily, there are many CMDs available to treat your aching feet. Insoles, callus removers, and foot baths are examples of solutions you can purchase to help bring you the relief you need.

Common Product examples:

  • Dr. Scholl's® Insoles & Custom Fit® Orthotics
  • Dr. Scholl's® Blister Cushions with Duragel® Technology

Eye Care

Your vision can be easily impacted by day-to-day activities and lead to all kinds of annoying issues. Dryness from spending too much time staring at a computer screen or being in an air-conditioned space. Red, itchy eyes from seasonal allergies. It’s enough to give you a headache, which is also a side effect. Start seeing clearly again with CMDs like moisturizing eye drops and contact solutions.

Common Product examples:

  • VISINE® Eye Drops
  • Blink Contacts® Lubricating Eye Drops
  • SYSTANE® Dry Eye Drops
  • Biotrue® Multi-Purpose Solution

Sleep Health

We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep. Snoring can negatively impact your quality of sleep and those around you too! Nasal strips are a common CMD that relieves nasal congestion and reduces snoring.

Common Product example:

  • Breathe Right® Nasal Strips

Feminine Care

As women move through each stage of life, there are CMDs available to help support feminine care and vaginal health. Examples include tampons, pads, menstrual cups, vaginal moisturizers and lubricants, and UTI test kits.

Common Product examples:

  • Always® Menstrual Pads
  • Tampax® Tampons
  • K-Y LIQUIBEADS® Vaginal Moisturizer
  • Uristat® Relief Pak

Sexual Health, Pregnancy Prevention, & Fertility

Whether you are looking to start a family or practice safe sex, there are many CMDs available to help support your needs. Digital ovulation and pregnancy tests, condoms, and personal and fertility lubricants are all easily accessible options that can be purchased online or in-store.

Common Product examples:


For new mothers, breast pumps are an example of a CMD that serves as a comfortable and convenient option for expressing breastmilk. Some breast pumps are best for moms who will be with their babies all the time and only need to pump milk occasionally. Others are great for moms who will be returning to work and want to continue breastfeeding. Whatever your circumstances may be, there are many different pumps available. Some breast pumps are available through your insurance carrier and are also available in stores and online.

Common Product example:

  • Lansinoh® breast pumps

How Are Consumer Medical Devices Regulated?

In the United States, CMDs that are sold in stores and online must be cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The process called "clearance” is an official review that confirms if a device is safe and effective for people to use, comparing new CMDs to ones that are already on the market to see if they are similar. If the new devices are similar, the FDA will allow them to be sold. “Approved” medical devices are those that may come with a higher risk and must go through a more in-depth review before they can be sold to the public.


Always read the product instructions on the label carefully before using any consumer medical device. Additionally, if you have existing medical conditions or take other medications, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider before using a medical device.

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