California considering patient-centered Rx labels

June 5, 2014

California is considering changes to state law designed to make the labels on prescription drug containers easier to understand.

California is considering changes to state law designed to make the labels on prescription drug containers easier to understand.

Citing medical literacy research pointing to consumers having an increasingly difficult time understanding Rx labels, The California Board of Pharmacy has proposed changes that will make labels easier to read and understand.

“The proposed changes align with the results of the board’s consumer survey soliciting feedback regarding the readability of the new prescription drug container labels,” according to the board’s initial statement of reasons for the change. “Additionally, the board’s proposal harmonizes with the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, November 2012, published guidelines for prescription container labeling.”

Specifically, the changes would require the patient’s name, the name and strength of the drug, directions for use of the drug, and the condition or purpose of which the drug was prescribed be clustered into one area that comprises at least 50% of the label. Labels would also have to be printed in at least 12-point sans serif typeface.

 

The California Board of Pharmacy stated that the label changes would not adversely affect businesses in terms of their ability to compete with businesses within and outside of California.

“The proposed changes will help protect the public health based on the proposed changes … and are consistent with patient-centered label for prescription drug requirements meeting national and industry standards,” according to the California Board of Pharmacy.

The comment period on the proposed changes ended in May, and board members will consider responses at their July meeting, according to Virginia Herold, the board’s executive officer.