Monash Anaesthesia is proud to support the EZDrugID campaign

Unfortunately, even the most conscientious clinician will occasionally make mistakes. Thus whilst clinician vigilance is an important strategy it is not able to provide a robust solution to these issues.

EZDrugID supports incorporation of strategies into manufacturer drug packaging & labelling which maximise distinctiveness of different medications and consistency between similar medications, in order to facilitate identification of the correct drug & dose.

Amongst other strategies, this could include colour coding of packaging elements according to the class of drug, based on the existing coding sytem that clinicians already use to apply labels to syringes, intravenous fluids & IV lines. Standardisation of the type of packaging (vials, glass or plastic ampoules) for different classes of injectable drugs should also be considered where practical.

Whilst work has already been done in this area, there are currently no mandatory standards in Australia, New Zealand or the United Kingdom which prevent pharmaceutical manufacturers producing medications with dangerously similar packaging.

In the USA & Canada, mandatory packaging regulations such as these already exist for some classes of drugs.

Healthcare professionals do their best to provide the safest possible care for their patents but despite this vigilance, errors still occur. The risk of this is increased in situations of stress, time pressure or fatigue. Make it easy for them to get it right. Sign the petitions in Australia, New Zealand & the United Kingdom to prevent patients being exposed to the risks of drug errors resulting from “lookalike” drugs.

International campaign to improve the distinctiveness of medication packaging

EZDrugID is an international campaign to improve the safety of medication packaging initiated by a multi-professional group of healthcare workers. Petitions to the relevant regulatory bodies to implement changes to drug packaging have been established in Australia, New Zealand & the United Kingdom.

Inadequate mandatory standards for medication packaging allow for medications with very different actions to be packaged in a very similar manner (“lookalike drugs”). This particularly occurs when colour & design elements of packaging are used to emphasise the manufacturer’s brand rather than distinguishing between different products. The occurrence of “look-alike drugs” increases the risk of significant drug error and the potential for serious patient harm as illustrated in these examples.
New Zealand
United Kingdom

Sign the Petitions

Take the Survey

What’s your experience with “lookalike” drugs?

Time for Change

Download HereAbout_EZDrugID_files/TimeForChange.pdf

Read the article in The Times about the harm to patients resulting from poor drug packaging

What is EZDrugID ?

What is the issue?

Download the proposal for packaging of muscle relaxants prepared by the Western Health Pharmacy & Anaesthetic Departments

What can be done?