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The Prescrire Awards for 2018

The Prescrire Packaging Awards for 2018

2018 drug packaging review: proposals to reduce the dangers of poor-quality packaging

Abstract

  • Prescrire examined the packaging quality of 220 products in 2018. The stark conclusion that has emerged from the 7000 packaging analyses we have conducted since 1981 is that most drug packaging fails in its function of ensuring that patients receive the right drug at the right dose in the settings in which they are likely to be used. Flaws include: the drug’s real name (its international nonproprietary name or INN) and dose strength being insufficiently legible on the labelling; unit-dose packaging being rare; and information required to protect patients from many high-risk situations missing from the patient leaflet.
     
  • In 2018, the French drug regulatory agency ANSM showed that it is finally taking the dangers of substandard packaging more seriously, by setting more stringent standards for labelling, including recommending that pharmaceutical companies stop marketing umbrella brands and package their drugs in unit-dose blister packs.
     
  • A number of healthcare practices are on the rise: dose preparation, oral chemotherapy in the community, and procedures to prevent or intercept and report medication errors. These practices show the dangers of certain types of packaging.

©Prescrire 1 July 2019

"Drug packaging in 2018: proposals to reduce the dangers of poor-quality packaging" Prescrire Int 2019: 28 (206): 190-194. (Pdf, free).