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Labels on OTC Painkillers Need Improvement
Date:3/30/2009

ve," Bix explained.

Participants spent the most time scanning the brand name.

More than 80 percent of volunteers didn't look at the tamper-evident warning. More than 50 percent didn't view the child-resistant section.

Warning labels were recalled the least, from 0 percent to 18 percent (tamper-evident information was not mentioned by any one). Brand name, indications and package color were the most likely to be recalled. Two-thirds remembered the brand name, and 40 percent could remember the color.

The child-resistant and tamper-evident warnings were also found to be less legible than other sections of the packaging. There was some indication that people with children found the labels less legible, although this may be because those with children were older than those without (average age of participants was 25).

"This basically points out that labels may not be conveying the information that we would like them to," Bix said. "Are there things we could do to make them more noticeable or is the consumer just not taking this information seriously and not taking the time to think it out. Depending on where the failure occurs, I think the solutions are very different."

Although the likelihood that anything would happen by having a non-child-resistant bottle in a household with children is slim, Bix nevertheless took the bottle she had purchased to her office.

"The doom-and-gloom scenario is that somebody's not aware that they're receiving the same level of safety that they are with child-resistant packaging, and they leave it in that environment, and the child gets into it," Bix said. "As for tampering, in the vast majority of cases, tampering hasn't occurred, and it's not going to have an effect. But in the rare instance when a feature is missing, and the person is not aware that it's supposed to be there, and they take the drug, then you could have potentially what we had in 1982 in Chicago. Seven p
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