What are some Examples of Common Pharmaceutical Labeling Errors to Avoid?

With the pharmaceutical industry being so heavily regulated, it is of vital importance that the labeling on products is accurate and informative. With errors as small as incorrect decimal points or printing issues having the potential to cause serious consequences, providers must take great care in ensuring their labeling complies with regulatory standards. In this article, we discuss some examples of the most common pharmaceutical labeling errors so they can be looked out for and prevented going forward.

Unclear graphics

Graphics are often used to save space and draw attention to key pieces of information. Although using standardized icons on labels can be a good practice, a patient must be able to correctly interpret and use the information displayed through the graphic, or else it can be misleading and potentially dangerous.

No drug interaction warnings

For medications which are not suitable for use alongside other types of medication, this must be made very clear on the label. If taking a new medication has the potential to interact with existing medications and cause side effects or make them ineffective, not explaining this on the label can put patients at risk.

Inaccurate dosage information

Dosage information is one of the most critical aspects of the label and must be accurate, catering to all age groups and needs if necessary. There have been instances of incorrect dosage information being printed, not containing the correct unit of measurement or placing the decimal point in the wrong place. These seemingly small errors are critical mistakes which can not only put the patients at risk, but cause serious legal issues.

Missing storage information

If the quality of a medication can be compromised by certain storage conditions, it must be communicated on the label to ensure the user is aware of how best to store the product. Certain environments that are prone to heat, cold, bright light, or moisture may be unsuitable and this can begin to hinder the effects of the medication.

Lack of warnings

When a patient is taking medication, they must be provided with comprehensive information on any potential side effects or risks so they can make an informed decision for themself. The product should be thoroughly trialed and tested before being used by the public and this will determine any warnings which should be made aware of, facing potential legal trouble if they are not disclosed.

Poor printing quality

On occasion, a pharmaceutical label may be printed incorrectly which can hide some or all of the information. Whether there is patchy printing from a shortage of ink, a label printed in reverse, or damaged materials, these errors can have an impact on how a consumer takes the medication. To avoid this, there should be a thorough inspection process during the production process.

Incorrect expiration date

If batches are mixed up or products are mislabeled with the wrong expiration date, this can have an impact on the effectiveness of the medication. Providing a patient with an expired pharmaceutical product can pose serious risks to both their health and the business, potentially leading to legal penalization.


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