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Panel recommends standardizing prescription container labeling
Date:5/10/2010

Rockville, Md., May 10, 2010 To promote the establishment of universal standards for prescription medication labelsand to address the widespread problem of patient misinterpretation of medication instructionsan advisory panel formed by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) recently issued a set of recommendations to bring consistency to labeling on dispensed prescription packaging. The recommendations are patient-centered, and were developed following a call for such standards by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on the issue of health literacy. The recommendations were presented to the IOM Health Literacy Roundtable.

Limited health literacy has been cited as a major problem by IOM, which states that 90 million adults are affected. Those with limited health literacy cannot fully benefit from much that the health and health care system have to offer, according to IOM. One critical component to health literacy is the ability to properly understand medication instructions and important supplemental information (such as drug interactions). Poor health literacy can lead to non-adherence and medication errors, which may pose significant health risks to patients. Medication misuse results in over 1 million adverse drug events per year.

USP, a nonprofit scientific organization that sets legally enforceable standards for the identity, as well as the strength, quality and purity of medicines in the United States, formed a Health Literacy and Prescription Container Labeling Advisory Panel in 2007 to examine ways to improve prescription drug container labeling. USP recently released the panel's recommendations, which cover format, appearance, content and language of prescription labelsall of which contribute to optimal patient understanding, which leads to safe and effective use of medications.

"Patients have the right to understand health information that is necessary to safely care for themselves and their families," said Joanne G. Schwartzber
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Contact: Francine Pierson
fp@usp.org
301-816-8588
US Pharmacopeia
Source:Eurekalert

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