Confusing labels targeted for improvement

A paper in Australian Prescriber canvassing broad issues around improving medicine labelling in Australia calls on stakeholders to avoid “ambiguous and unclear” instructions.

Both prescribers and pharmacists had a shared responsibility to ensure the public were given information in “everyday common language”, the author, pharmacist Daniel Lalor, told MO.

“The language [used by] medical people – who are talking all the time about how to take medicines – is not language that patients understand... and it is often misinterpreted,” he said.

Mr Lalor, medication safety project manager at the Sydney-based Clinical Excellence Commission, said pharmaceutical companies faced massive research and regulatory compliance costs to ensure the efficacy and safety of a drug, but clear dosing directions were vital to “deliver it safely into the patient”.

Using Latin abbreviations on a