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International award 2013

Health Canada

This year we want to acknowledge the work of Health Canada (the Federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health) for its work on clearer drug labeling.

In June 2013 Health Canada published details of the ‘Plain Language Labeling Initiative’ – a requirement to make all drug labels easy to read and understand.

These wide-ranging proposals will cover more than just the language on labels. They will also introduce a standard format for non-prescription drugs so users can find important information and they will require companies to provide contact information for feedback about problems and side effects. And, not only will manufacturers have to provide mock-up labels and packages for approval, they will also have to prove that drug names will not be confused with other products.

Following its announcement in June, Health Canada held a consultation and it is now analysing the results of this.

We have long campaigned for clearer labeling for drugs to avoid unnecessary injury to patients. We have received many complaints about lack of clarity on medicines as well as complaints about the very small print which many drug companies use, so we applaud the Canadian Government for its stance on this important matter and we will be following the progress of this very important initiative.

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