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Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Changes Label After Concern Over Medication Errors

David W. Hodges
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Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
Posted on Jun 11, 2012

A pharmaceutical company got ahead of the curve this week by proactively changing the labels on two of its generic products, avoiding potential wrong medication mistakes before they happen. 

Amneal Pharmaceuticals, LLC today announced that it would be changing the labels on its generic Metformin products. Starting this month, the similar-sounding diabetes medications Metformin HCl Extended Release (ER) and Metformin HCl Immediate Release (IR) will now have dissimilar packaging--and flavors.

The company made the change in response to input from pharmacists, who reported cases of confusion between the products. If placed next to each other on a pharmacy shelf, the look-alike packaging was at risk of creating dispensing errors. Now, however, Metformin HCl ER will feature a new color and design on all of its labels to differentiate the bottles from their 500, 850 and 1000mg Immediate Release counterparts. 

Amneal also made a change in the formulation of the Metformin HCl IR tablets by adding blackberry flavoring to improve the taste. The company received many complaints from diabetic patients about the taste of the active ingredient through online customer feedback, and the new pills should reflect an improvement in both taste and smell. 

The blackberry-flavored Metformin HCl IR tablets in 100, 500 and 1000 count sizes will begin shipping in May 2012. In order to give patients with current Metformin prescriptions the option to switch to the more pleasantly-flavored tablets, the company has assigned new NDC numbers to identify the new tablets from the unflavored variety. 

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