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The package user test: a method for improving medicines packaging

This paper describes a new performance-based package user test that has the potential to improve drug package design and therefore reduce drug selection errors



To improve drug package design to reduce the potential for drug selection error in the home and pharmacy.


Performance based assessment followed by semi-structured interview and retest.

Subjects and settings

Two user groups were tested: patients or careers in their homes using a carefully selected stocked placebo medicine cabinet, and pharmacists or pharmacy workers in their usual dispensaries.


Some of the design features were demonstrated to be of good quality. This was to be expected, as the package designs complied with Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and National Patient Safety Agency guidelines. Even so, during the rebranding of two generic medicine ranges, and as part of the pack design phase for a high strength over the counter analgesic, the package user test was able to identify the need for further design enhancements and to confirm when these had been addressed.


The new, performance based package user test described has the potential to influence improvements in drug package design, so reducing the chance of drug selection errors and could be easily adopted within the pharmaceutical industry.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11136473

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