Medicinal product packs contain several labels that include important information to people who use and handle the product.
- The most important package labels are the name, strength and pharmaceutical form of the medicinal product. This information helps to identify products and to tell them apart. The name of medicinal product as well as strength and pharmaceutical form, when necessary, are expressed in Braille format in the package.
- The package contains information about the product composition. Usually it is enough to list the active substance and excipients that might be significant/effective (e.g. lactose). All the ingredients are listed in the package leaflet.
- For overthe-counter drugs, the indication and the most common dosage as well as the target group (e.g. adults and over 12-year-old children) can be found on the package. Over-the-counter drugs are labelled “Itsehoitolääke/Receptfritt läkemedel” (“Medicinal product not subject to medical prescription”) to differentiate them from nutritional supplements.
- The package indicates if there are any special storage requirements, e.g. if the product should be stored refrigerated.
- A red triangle is added on products that clearly reduce the ability to drive.
- The expiry date is generally stated on the package (usually after “EXP” or “Käyt.viim./ Anv.före” (“Use by”).
- Nearly all prescription drugs include socalled safety features to ensure that the drug is not falsified: 2D barcode, and package identifiers PC (product code), SN (serial number) and LOT (batch number). These safety features are inspected in the pharmacy.
- A Vnr number is a Nordic product number. It is used to ensure that the correct product, strength and package size is used in the pharmaceutical distribution chain.
- The medicinal product pack also indicates the name and address of the marketing authorisation holder as well as the marketing authorisation number (MTnr).
The most detailed labelling can be found on the outer packaging. Labelling on the immediate packaging (e.g. tablet blister, lotion tube, eye drop bottle) is generally more concise due to lack of space. The name, strength, pharmaceutical form and active substance of the medicinal product, name of the marketing authorisation holder, batch number and expiry date can be found on all parts of the package, however. All the labelling on medicinal product packs is given both in Finnish and in Swedish.
You can read more in the Sic! article “What does the packaging information of medicinal products mean? (in Finnish) (Sic! 1-2/2020)