english.prescrire.org > Spotlight > Archives : 2011 > 2010 packaging review: very few improvements and a prevalence of poor-quality packaging

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2010 packaging review: very few improvements and a prevalence of
poor-quality packaging

The overall quality of packaging still remains poor, to the detriment of quality care.

Prescrire aims to focus the attention of health professionals and patients on the packaging of the drugs reviewed by Prescrire during the year. A drug’s packaging is an integral aspect of patient information, and has implications for safety and convenience. Each year, Prescrire makes a detailed analysis of the packaging of hundreds of drugs in order to identify the packaging that is of high quality and to point the finger at packaging that can lead to confusion.

In 2010, as in previous years, poor-quality packaging was much in evidence: too many labels that are either ambiguous or unclearly worded, unreliable and unsafe administration devices and multidose bottles, and all too often the patient information leaflets are inadequate. Improvements have sometimes been made as a result of EU labelling regulations: increased use of the INN (international nonproprietary name), and information in Braille on the packets, and clearer labelling on some dangerous injectable drugs. But not enough has been done.

In 2010, no Prescrire Packaging Award was given, while 4 “Yellow Cards” and 9 “Red Cards” identified packaging that represented various risks for patients: no INN; similar labelling for different dosages of drugs within the same range, likely to cause confusion or result in patients taking a double dose; poorly indicated concentrations; bottles presented without a box, etc.

> Click here for the online Dossier "Prescrire looks back at drug packaging in 2010"

> Click here for the online Dossier "The 2010 Prescrire Packaging Awards"

©Prescrire 1 June 2011

"2010 drug packaging review: identifying problems to prevent errors" Prescrire Int 2011; 20 (117): 162-165. (Pdf, free)

Download the full review.
Pdf, free