More People Read New Labels on Over-the-Counter Drugs, But Few Heed Advice
More U.S. residents are reading the simpler over-the-counter drug labels introduced last year, but many consumers still ignore their advice, according to a survey commissioned by the National Council on Patient Information and Education, Scripps Howard/Detroit News reports (Scripps Howard/Detroit News, 9/11). The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive in June, surveyed 1,009 adults and found that 56% of respondents were aware of the new labels, which list OTC drugs' active and inactive ingredients, purpose, uses, warnings and dosage instructions. According to the survey, 44% check OTC products' active ingredients, compared with 34% last year; 20% look for possible side effects, compared with 10% last year; and 23% read dosage information, compared with 16% last year (NCPIE release, 9/10). The survey also says that only four in 10 people consult pharmacists about nonprescription medications (Scripps Howard/Detroit News, 9/11). Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona yesterday released a list of questions that consumers should ask pharmacists about OTC drugs, including about specific treatments, dosage and frequency and possible interactions. The question list will be distributed to community pharmacies, clinics and community and senior centers (NCPIE release, 9/10). Carmona said, "[W]e're asking patients to assume more and more responsibility for self care, yet there's still a lack of understanding that over-the-counter drugs are serious medicines that should be taken with care" (Scripps Howard/Detroit News, 9/11). CNN's "Live Today" yesterday interviewed FDA Deputy Commissioner Lester Crawford about the campaign to educate people about OTC medications (Kagan, "Live Today," CNN, 9/10). The full transcript is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.