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The Prescrire Awards for 2017

The Prescrire Packaging Awards for 2017

2017 drug packaging review: quality is improving, but many dangers remain


  • Prescrire examined the packaging quality of 318 products in 2017. There is a striking contrast between the advances observed, the lax attitude of drug regulatory agencies, and the failure of many pharmaceutical companies to incorporate these advances into their own products, especially: safer labelling, more accurate dosing devices, child-proof caps, and package leaflets that help protect patients.
  • The progress observed is mainly due to advances in regulatory requirements and the publication of guidelines by health authorities to increase patient safety. But pharmaceutical companies and regulatory agencies often fail to apply these measures, which owe much to pressure from civil society.
  • In practice, this means that in 2017, as in previous years, we found many drugs marketed in bulk bottles rather than in child-proof unit-dose blister packs, a safer and more convenient option; bottles without a child-proof cap; and insufficient prominence given to international nonproprietary names on boxes or labelling. Healthcare professionals therefore need to be extremely vigilant in order to identify these dangers, warn patients about them, and report them to health authorities.

©Prescrire 1 July 2018

"Drug packaging in 2017: quality is improving, but many dangers remain" Prescrire Int 2018: 27 (195): 191-195. (Pdf, free).