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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

All About the Box

In December 2016, a pharmacist in Northern Ireland made a tragic error when he fatally dispensed propranolol to a patient who was prescribed prednisolone. It was revealed that the two boxes were side-by-side on the pharmacy’s shelf, with similar branding and packaging. Such simple slip-ups can result in devastation and highlight packaging’s crucial role in keeping patients safe.

Even to the trained eye of a busy pharmacist, medication names such as Daptomycin and Dactinomycin or Levoxine and Lanoxin could be easily muddled, especially if they share similar dosages and are packaged in indistinguishable white cardboard boxes.

Incorrect dispensing is just one issue that can arise from ineffective packaging. Dangerous storage conditions, medication tampering, and the production of counterfeit medicine can all occur when packaging is not as effective as it should be. What can we do to prevent these problems before they jeopardise public health?

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Oliver Pittock is the Managing Director at pharma packaging specialist Valley Northern. Oliver built his commitment to the healthcare and pharmacy supply business through seeing his father’s business grow throughout the 1970s. Moving to the Midlands in 1993, Oliver set up Valley Northern, which became a limited company in 2014.
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