A new drug regulation was recently announced in Canada, this time controlling the packaging. That’s the Plain Language Labelling Initiative, which will be an overhaul of how drugs are described on their boxes and bottles. This new initiative aims at altering guidelines for better clarity.
While pharmaceutical quality control can ensure that the contents of a package provide exactly the results they’re supposed to, it’s of equal importance to make sure healthcare professionals and consumers are also picking the right products.
That means universal standards to prevent confusion between very similarly named or packaged drugs, oversight that is expected to save lives by preventing pharmacist errors. It will also mean educating consumers of non-prescription drugs, with mandatory, easy to read “drug facts” and company contact information to help consumers more easily report new side effects.
Adding another layer of pharmaceutical quality assurance
Clinical research already helps pharmaceutical companies keep track of what possible side effects a drug may have, but supporters of the new initiative point to the agility that easier contact will give drug companies to see the longer term effects of new products, as well as control for drug interactions.
It also adds an extra layer of pharmaceutical quality assurance oversight, this time, on the graphic design side. Companies will be expected to submit box art and packaging plans for approval by a government body.
The initiative is still in its earliest stages, and is expected to effect prescription drugs first. As a new plan, the next step is a 75-day consultation process designed to include pharmaceutical manufacturers in developing the best ways to implement the change. Pharmaceutical packaging is already affected by regulations, as well as practical measures like child proof caps, or more recently, easy open caps for people with arthritis or diminished mobility, and navigating. Shaping new regulations are just part of the natural challenge of doing business in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector.
What do you think of the Plain Language Labelling Initiative?