USP Advisory Panel Recommends Standardizing Prescription Container Labeling

A U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) advisory panel recently issued a set of recommendations to establish universal standards for prescription medication labels. The patient-centered recommendations 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 on April 27, 2010. Background To examine what is known about how medication container labeling affects patient safety and to discuss approaches to addressing identified problems, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Roundtable on Health Literacy organized a workshop, “Changing Prescription Medication Use Container Instructions to Improve Health Literacy and Medication Safety,” which was held on October 12, 2007. NCPIE’s Executive Vice President, Wm. Ray Bullman, participated in the above noted October 2007 IOM workshop. During a panel entitled, “Other Stakeholder Reaction to Prescription Use Instruction Standardization: Physicians and Patients,” Mr. Bullman voiced support for USP a founding member of NCPIE which has served continuously on the NCPIE board of directors since its inception in 1982 - taking the organizational lead on such an important medication safe use issue. In his remarks, Mr. Bullman noted, “Addressing the issue of drug label standardization, the United States Pharmacopeia might be a very good place to move this initiative forward. It has a committee on safe medication use and is involved with the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCC MERP). Furthermore, it has a multidisciplinary membership that includes federal agencies.”