N.Y. politician looks to make medicine cups, dosage devices safer for children

CHPA says industry takes responsibility very seriously

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. — Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., plans to introduce new legislation soon to make medicine cups and other dosage devices commonly used to give medicine to children safer, the Congress leader recently announced. However, the need for such a bill may be moot as the over-the-counter industry already is actively initiating guidelines to standardize dosing directions and units of measuring that dose.

“When we give our kids medicine, we hope we’re making them better,” Israel stated in a pre-Christmas announcement. “But when nearly all the medicine cups and dosing devices used with our kids’ medicine are flawed, there is a chance we could be making them worse. Why would a medicine’s label say tablespoons when the dosing cup is in teaspoons? We’ve been too lax about these flaws for too long.”

Israel cited a study published in the December 2010 Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that 99% of medicine cups and dosage devices were flawed, as the impetus behind the bill.

However, the industry actively has been addressing this issue, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association announced in late November when the AMA journal hit the newsstands. “The [over-the-counter] medicine industry takes very seriously its responsibility to help parents and caregivers safely and correctly administer OTC pediatric oral medicines to children,” the association stated. “Accordingly, the nation’s OTC medicine makers are working in partnership with other stakeholders and more than a year ago approved voluntary guidelines regarding dosing devices and volumetric measurements.”

The industry has approved voluntary guidelines, including the uniform use of tables to communicate dosing guidelines, as opposed to only text, and the use of milliliters as the preferred unit for dosing with an abbreviation to read “mL.” “It is our goal that all OTC medicines will fully follow the guidelines by the end of 2011,” CHPA stated.

“When we give our kids medicine, we hope we’re making them better,” Israel stated in a pre-Christmas announcement. “But when nearly all the medicine cups and dosing devices used with our kids’ medicine are flawed, there is a chance we could be making them worse. Why would a medicine’s label say tablespoons when the dosing cup is in teaspoons? We’ve been too lax about these flaws for too long.”

Israel cited a study published in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that 99% of medicine cups and dosage devices were flawed, as the impetus behind the bill.

However, the industry actively has been addressing this issue, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association announced in late November, when the AMA journal hit the newsstands. “The [OTC] medicine industry takes very seriously its responsibility to help parents and caregivers safely and correctly administer OTC pediatric oral medicines to children,” the association stated. “Accordingly, the nation’s OTC medicine makers are working in partnership with other stakeholders and, more than a year ago, approved voluntary guidelines regarding dosing devices and volumetric measurements.”

The industry has approved voluntary guidelines, including the uniform use of tables to communicate dosing guidelines as opposed to only text, and the use of milliliters as the preferred unit for dosing with an abbreviation to read mL. “It is our goal that all OTC medicines will fully follow the guidelines by the end of 2011,” the CHPA stated.

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