Study: Drug labels don't highlight instructions

In theory, instructions on how to take a drug are the most important part of its label. Typically, however, drug labels draw most attention to the name or logo of the pharmacy that filled the prescription, rather than instructions for use, according to a new study published in the Archives of the Internal Medicine.

To examine drug labeling, Brigham and Women's Hospital author Dr. William Shrank and his team had six pharmacies in four cities fill identical prescriptions for four commonly-prescribed medications. Pharmacies included chains, grocery stores and independent pharmacies. The researchers then evaluated 85 labels.

The researchers found that pharmacy name and logo was the most prominent feature on 84 percent of labels, at 13.6-point font size, while instructions averaged 9.3-point font size (and more soberingly, warning stickers were a much smaller 6.5 point font size on average.) And all of the labels listed the pharmacy name first.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Medical News Today piece

Related Article:
FDA issues new labeling rules. Report

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