Navigation Links
Researchers question effectiveness of warning labels on over-the-counter drugs
Date:3/31/2009

EAST LANSING, Mich. --- Medicine packages barrage consumers with information, some required to be "prominent" and "conspicuous." But marketing claims and brand names still overshadow critical fine print on nonprescription medications, Michigan State University researchers found.

In a study to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, MSU researchers examined the effectiveness of two required warnings on over-the-counter medications, specifically their relative prominence and conspicuousness.

"We wanted to quantify how well warning statements in over-the-counter drug packaging were working to convey information to consumers," explained Laura Bix, an assistant professor in the MSU School of Packaging. "To be effective, warnings about the lack of a child resistant feature, or those that alert consumers to potential tampering of the product, need to be read and comprehended at the time of purchase."

Medicine labels carry brand identification and descriptions of contents; quantity; price; ingredients; dosage; directions; barcodes; and warning statements. Federal regulations require packages that do not have a child resistant feature, for example, to conspicuously state that the product is not intended for homes with small children. Such packages are blamed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a number of child poisonings every year.

Bix and her colleagues quantified the relative prominence and conspicuousness of five different label elements on the packages of OTC pain-killers: the tamper-evident warning; the child-resistant warning; the brand name; the drug facts information; and statement of claims such as "extra strength." They also evaluated how well test subjects remembered information presented on the product packaging.

Using an eye tracking device, the researchers found that people spent the most time looking at the brand of the product and significantly less time looking at the tamper-evident and child-resistant warnings. Study participants also recalled the brand of the products at a higher rate. While two-thirds recalled one or more brands that they viewed during the course of the study, only 18 percent recalled warnings related to alcohol and 8.2 percent recalled that the product was not to be used in households with young children. Not one recalled warnings about tamper-evident features.

The researchers also found that the brand and product claims were significantly more legible than the warning statements. They noted that the higher legibility of the brand name wasn't surprising, given the importance of brand identification in purchasing decisions.

"Little specific guidance exists from the federal government regarding what it means to be 'prominent' or 'conspicuous,' yet, this term is used quite frequently in the regulations that dictate labeling for a variety of product," Bix said. "Our findings call into question whether these warnings are working, but do not indicate why. An array of reasons should be investigated: these could include design and graphics, consumer experience and previous knowledge and whether or not consumers recognize the potential consequences of missing or disregarding this information."

Bix, the study's lead author, is a Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station researcher.

"Finding effective ways to get people to read and heed warnings on over-the-counter drugs is critical to their safety and well-being as well as those around them -- especially children," MAES Director Steve Pueppke said. "This research is an important step toward using consumer-focused science to improve design and labeling elements for these medications."

Follow-up research being conducted by one of Bix's graduate students, Raghav Prashant Sundar, studies the same noticeability, recall and legibility issues for prescription drugs bearing prescription warning labels -- the colorful stickers often applied at the pharmacy.

Bix's study can be viewed at the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science Web site, online at www.pnas.org this week.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Fellows
mark.fellows@ur.msu.edu
517-884-0166
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Stanford researchers find culprit in aging muscles that heal poorly
2. UCLA researchers identify markers that may predict diabetes in still-healthy people
3. Mayo Clinic researchers discover new diagnostic test for detecting infection in prosthetic joints
4. Bipolar disorder relapses halved by Melbourne researchers
5. Cell that triggers symptoms in allergy attacks can also limit damage, Stanford researchers find
6. High and mighty: first common height gene identified by researchers behind obesity gene finding
7. Researchers estimate about 9 percent of US children age 8 to 15 meet criteria for having ADHD
8. Majority of 2.4 Million U.S. Children With ADHD Not Diagnosed or Consistently Treated, According to New Gold Standard Study by Cincinnati Childrens Researchers
9. Researchers develop long-lasting growth hormone
10. Jefferson immunology researchers halt lethal rabies infection in brain
11. Purdue researchers develop technology to detect cancer by scanning surface veins
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Researchers question effectiveness of warning labels on over-the-counter drugs
(Date:2/24/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 24, 2017 , ... Only two ... International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) show in Cannes (France), XO Private has initiated a ... tome, the 420-page book measures almost a metre across when open, weighs in at ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... February 24, 2017 , ... Dr. Ronald E. ... announced the appointment of Peter A. Bell, DO, MBA, HPF, FACOEP-dist., FACEP, as ... beginning April 10. Dr. Bell comes to Liberty from the Ohio University Heritage ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , ... February 24, 2017 , ... ... hearing disabilities, it is so critically important that we all are aware of ... is why Mediaplanet is proud to announce the launch of its newest edition ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... February 24, 2017 , ... With ... Final Cut Pro X . Users have total control over position, rotation, distortion, edge ... more all within Final Cut Pro X. , With ProGlass Prism users are given ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... 24, 2017 , ... The International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (iaedp) announces ... See” body image mannequin art competition. Selected from 15 submissions from around the nation, ... at the 31st annual iaedp Symposium, March 22 – 26 in Las Vegas. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... HARRISBURG, Pa. , Feb. 24, 2017 ... Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs Jennifer Smith ... role in providing training for and using naloxone, a ... Mark McCullough , a recovery specialist and overdose ... naloxone by EMS providers. "A significant part ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... 2017 The U.S. Food and Drug ... Kit, performed on the Pheno System. This is ... bloodstream infections and provide information about which antibiotics ... sensitivity). The test also reduces the amount of ... which can guide antibiotic treatment recommendations more quickly. ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... Feb. 23, 2017  Directors from Pharma To Market Pty Ltd ... joined forces, resulting in the founding of Pharma To Market Pte ... To Market are pleased to announce their expansion into ... Singapore . The company are delighted to appoint ... the Singapore based entity. Joelle brings with ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: