The Efficiency and Effectiveness of Different Drug Labels

By Kavindra Sahabir ‘21

Figure 1. The U.S. Drug Facts Label, as shown below, was deemed to be the most useful drug label, in terms of understanding the key information in over-the-counter drugs.

The labels on over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are what most use to understand their contents and effects. However, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), finding a disparity in the different kinds of prescription drug labels, has proposed a standardized label to be used for OTC drugs in Australia. Vivian Tong and her research team aimed to test different drug label formats and determine which were the most usable and consumer friendly (1).

The research team used five different drug label formats: one made by the TGA that is currently in use, one that was proposed by the TGA, one based on the U.S. Drug Facts Label, and two formats that were chosen in an earlier phase of research, referred to as Medicine Facts and Consumer Desires respectively. There were five groups with ten participants, each of which was asked to analyze all of the five labels and fill out questionnaires designed to measure the ability to understand the key information about the drugs, and were interviewed to determine their perspectives.

<span style="font-weight:400;"The researchers found that, of all the labels, the one in current use was the poorest label in terms of finding and understanding the information in the drug. The U.S. Drug Facts Label was found to be the most useful in understanding the information of the over the counter drug. This showed that the best kinds of drug labels are those that are both the most informative and the most efficient in terms of consumers’ ability to understand the information on the label.



  1. V. Tong, D.K. Raynor, P. Aslani, Developing alternative over-the-counter medicine label formats: How do they compare when evaluated by consumers? CORE 14, 248-261 (2018). doi:  
  2. Image retrieved from:

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