HealthDay News — Nine new drug labeling and packaging guidelines have been developed with an aim of reducing medication errors, according to a report published in Drug Topics.

Medical safety organizations and advocates from over 20 countries address the use of technologies to reduce errors and establish an international barcode standard for drug labeling and packaging.

According to the report, summit participants discussed nine labeling and packaging guidelines. These include use of both per mL and per container quantity, not just per mL, for injectables; use of metric units and elimination of ratio expressions; and elimination of potentially error-prone abbreviations and dose designations on labels. 

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In addition, cautionary statements should be prominently displayed and contrasting label backgrounds should be used for printing on glass ampules to improve readability. Diluents should be physically linked or integrated with drugs that are powders, and the adoption of ready-to-use/administer syringes, premixed intravenous solutions, and other more efficient safety packing options should be increased. Finally, product-specific world safety standards should be developed, and barcodes should be included on packages so that they can be scanned at locations where medications are dispensed or administered.

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“We are trying to harmonize safe labeling and packaging practices,” Michael Cohen, R.Ph., president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, said in a statement. “We shared safety issues with one another and there was a great deal of learning by all.”

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