Making sure that you get the proper medications is something that medical professionals must do, especially if you are in the hospital and dependent upon nurses and other staff members to give you the medications. Interestingly, there are instances in which errors can be made and patients won't receive the proper medications. In some cases, this is because of packaging or labeling issues.
Recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration released new guidance regarding packaging. The document noted that proper packing and labeling are crucial to product safety. These elements are also very important because they deal with the efficiency of the medications and can help to ensure proper medications and proper dosages are given to patients.
One of the problems that comes into the picture occurs when products have similar packaging or labeling that makes them confusing. Oftentimes, this is the result of a crowded market that includes multiple medications used for the same or similar uses.
Essentially, the FDA is advising that packaging needs to be different from one package to another. The agency wants to get away from the similar packaging that seems fairly common. Instead, creative solutions for packaging are necessary to prevent incorrect medications from being doled out to patients.
Ultimately, it is up to the medical professional who is dispensing the medication to ensure that the proper medications are given. Even when this means scrutinizing packages that are similar, the time must be taken to ensure the patient gets the right medications. When a patient doesn't get the right medications, harm can occur. Those patients might choose to seek compensation from liable parties, which can often include the medical professional and the drug manufacturer.
Source: Packaging World, "Medication Errors? Packaging Can Help," Eric Greenberg, May 03, 2016