Low-cost Drug Packaging. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 009 (1990)
(1990; 2 pages)


Drugs are commonly dispensed without packaging or in packaging that patients are not able to read. To remedy this problem, the World Health Organization and the British government have funded a project to develop low-cost, appropriate, and acceptable drug packaging. At the time of the article, drugs were often placed directly in patients’ hands or distributed in paper. Two trials of two different sets of low-technology machines were conducted in Bhutan and Mexico using wastepaper and plastic, respectively. Although some individuals questioned did not believe packaging was justified, there are advantages to using improved packaging. Because many individuals value packaged drugs more than unpackaged drugs, packaging could be used to promote the use of generics over brand name alternatives. Four methods of new packaging were produced and tested in this study. The packages produced had to provide adequate protection for the drug during its prescribed duration, be easy to label clearly, have a secure seal, utilise simple and easy to use equipment, and be produced in appropriate quantities for the size of each clinic. Researchers found that each of the four packaging methods tested were appropriate and viable under different circumstances. The method of choice should depend on the number of prescriptions handled each day and the site of packaging production. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

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