Wednesday 21 March 2018
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Boston Medical Professionals Call for More Transparency on Pharmaceutical Packaging Labels

Biotechnology packaging

Carded blister packaging is popular in the pharmaceutical industry because it offers the ability to provide information about the product, while also keeping it safely and securely packaged. Because the packaging has a wide flat surface, there is lots of room to include all the necessary info consumers need to know before taking the medication. For instance, current carded blister packaging designs include a lot number and expiration date for quality control purposes. However, too often, some of the most vital information is left out.

Pharmacists and health professionals from Brigham and Women?s Health (BWH) in Boston, MA, are calling for a new regulation that would require prescription labels to inform patients about the specific purpose of the medication. They are calling it the ?sixth? patient right.

?Currently, even though there is a widespread commitment to sharing drug information with patients, the reason for a medication prescription is generally not recorded or shared when it is being written and is therefore missing a key piece of information,? said Gordon D. Schiff, MD, the lead author of the proposal.

Currently, the ?five rights? include: the right patient, right drug, right dose, right time, and right route. However, BWH professionals argue that there is one more factor that must be correct to ensure safe medication ordering and use: the indication.

In their proposal, they outlined why incorporating indication should be among the best medical packaging techniques. They cited the following reasons:

  • Reduce errors, including mismatches, dispensing errors, and errors related to medications with similar names
  • Enable patients to better understand and follow regimens
  • Inform everyone involved about what is being treated and the outcomes that are desired
  • Allows better assessments and comparisons in order to track prescriptions

According to executive director of pharmacy at WBH John Fanikos, RPh, MBA, providing this information will help initiate patient engagement in their own medical care. He said, ?It?s critical for patients to understand why they have been prescribed a medication and the condition being treated. This engages patients as active participants in their treatment. It provides both patient and clinician the opportunity to assess therapy over time and determine if the medication is providing the intended benefit.?

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