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The Prescrire Packaging Awards for 2019: one winner and plenty of losers

Prescrire Drug Packaging Awards The independent French medical journal Prescrire held its annual awards ceremony in Paris on 30 January. A Prescrire Packaging Award recognised Isentress° granules for oral suspension (raltegravir) for its clear, informative instruction booklet, whereas 34 "Red Cards" were handed out for substandard or dangerous packaging.

In 2019, Prescrire examined the packaging of 173 pharmaceutical products. All aspects of the packaging were examined to determine their quality and safety, including the legibility of international nonproprietary names (INNs), which is often hampered by the commercial content which dominates the labelling (brand names, logos, graphic identity, fanciful illustrations), the differentiation of dose strengths within a product range; the clarity of the information that is presented as tables, dosing schedules or pictograms; the adequacy of the dosing devices that are supplied to prepare and administer the drug; the measures taken to protect children from gaining access to a drug without their carers' knowledge; and the quality of the patient leaflet as regards dose preparation, adverse effects, and situations and patient groups in which the drug poses a risk.

The Prescrire Packaging Awards are based on evaluations carried out by the Prescrire Editorial Staff and by Prescrire's specialised Packaging Working Group, in total independence, without any involvement by packaging manufacturers.

In 2019, a Prescrire Packaging Award was given to:

  • Isentress° granules for oral suspension (raltegravir)
    For the clear, informative "instructions for use" booklet inside the box of the paediatric form of this antiretroviral drug, now authorised for use in neonates. This booklet, provided in addition to the patient leaflet, contains a wealth of useful information to help prepare and administer the correct dose, and to prevent errors.

34 "Red Cards" point to a series of shortcomings and dangers. Too many labels feature brand names and company logos, to the detriment of information encouraging correct use and error prevention, such as, quite simply, the drug's composition. Too many dosing devices are poorly adapted to children (syringes that can cause overdoses, for example). Too few bottles are equipped with a child-proof cap to prevent ingestion by children. Too many leaflets understate the drug's harms.

©Prescrire 30 January 2020

"The Prescrire Awards for 2019" Prescrire Int 2020; 29 (213): 77-81. (Pdf, free)

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Download the full review.
Pdf, free

See also:

The Prescrire Awards
for 2019