english.prescrire.org > Spotlight > Archives : 2009 > Drug packaging in 2008: progress needed

Spotlight: Archives

Every month, the subjects in Prescrire’s Spotlight.

2009 : 1 | 30 | 60 | 90

Drug packaging in 2008: progress needed

Proper packaging, a key factor in the correct use of medications, is all too often neglected by pharmaceutical companies and drug regulatory agencies alike. But a few companies do prove that it is possible to do a good job.

Summary : Drug packaging developments in 2008
Prescrire's editors make a yearly review of drug packaging, which plays a crucial role in patient information and in the safety and ease of drug treatment. Prescrire evaluates the packaging of all the drugs that its editors have examined over the past year, and names the winners of the Prescrire Packaging Awards (rules available online, see link  below).

In 2008, Prescrire's editors criticised too-prominent commercial information (brand names, logos) which overshadowed useful medical information; unsatisfactory dose-preparing equipment; the absence of safety closures on bottles containing dangerous substances; inadequate or overly complicated patient leaflets; etc. The risk of error is exacerbated in certain situations: self-medication, paediatric medicines, visually impaired patients, pregnant women, community use ((soins de collectivités ???))

Prescrire's Packaging Awards aim to draw healthcare professionals' and patients' attention to how good packaging can improve use of medications, and on the contrary to the risks caused by certain packaging. The Awards serve to highlight the efforts of pharmaceutical companies who come up with patient-friendly packaging solutions, and to encourage other companies to try harder.

For 2008, Prescrire gave out 2 Awards for packaging that enhances patient safety. 8 "Yellow cards" and 4 "Red cards" were given out to sanction packaging that presented various risks to patients.

©Prescrire July 2009

"Drug packaging in 2008: not enough progress" Prescrire Int 2009; 18 (101): 134-135 (pdf, free)

> More articles in Prescrire's "Spotlight"...