Drug warning labels need to be bolder, claims study

27th July 2012 - Fine Cut

Prescription labels on medical packaging need to be a lot clearer as they are currently failing to 'attract patient's attention'.

That's according to new research published in the journal PLoS, which found that as the labels fail to attract attention, mainly from older consumers, drug warning labels get completely overlooked, reports packagingnews.co.uk.

As a result, communication of important safety information can be ignored, albeit accidentally.

In an eye-tracking study by US researchers, 50 per cent of those over 50 did not notice a warning label on prescription medicine while 90 per cent of participants between 20 and 29 years of age did acknowledge the presence of a warning label.

This is deemed dangerous as older generations are at greater risk of medications errors given their usually more complicated drug regimes relative to younger patients, reports eurekalert.org.

Nora Bello, study author and assistant professor of statistics at Kansas State University, commented on the study: "These findings have implications for the design of prescription drug warning labels to improve their effectiveness, particularly as the US government recently started to investigate approaches to standardise the format and content of these labels to decrease medication error rates.

"Results from this study can provide insight to assist debates about labelling designs that are most likely to impact a wide wage range of consumers," she added.

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