Does Package Design Matter for Patients?: The Association Between Package Design and Patients' Drug Knowledge
Source: Pharmaceutical Medicine, Volume 25, Number 5, 1 October 2011 , pp. 307-317(11)
Publisher: Adis International
Abstract:Introduction The objective of this study was to discover whether over-the-counter (OTC) package designs differ in their ability to transfer drug-safety-related information to pharmacy customers. The research was intended to answer two questions: (i) how well and quickly do customers comprehend, and what are the main characteristics of customers who have difficulty understanding relevant medical information on a package; and (ii) do alternative package designs provide for significantly different levels of comprehension?
Methods We performed cross-sectional face-to-face interviews with 452 pharmacy customers in 17 German pharmacies. In each of three sequential experiments (one OTC brand per experiment), each participant was shown two packages of the same brand and was asked three drug-related questions per package. The different abilities of the three package designs to transfer information correctly and rapidly were compared by descriptive statistics; the significance of differences was tested by Wilcoxon tests.
Results Older people, those with physical problems, people not in a receptive mood, and those with a poor doctor-patient relationship or a lack of trust in medicines in general, answered the questions with a significantly higher number of errors and/or required significantly more time to do so, than the remainder of the sample. When compared with two other package designs, one of the tested designs with special design characteristics proved superior.
Conclusions The design of a medication package can measurably influence the quality and speed of information transfer to pharmacy customers. Because drug safety and adherence are associated with drug knowledge, the design of packaging should be given more attention.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: October 1, 2011