Looking at drug package design from the patient’s corner

Customer checking a medicine box

Have you ever cast a look at how people are buying medicinal products in drugstores? They never throw them in haste in a basket or trolley like a pack of spaghetti. Buying drugs people have expectation of the purchase will stop their suffering or at least pain.

Medicinal products are the marketable output when significant part of their costs is expenditures on promotion and advertising. Each country has its own legislation regulating how drugs should be advertised and most of advertising actions are aimed to the attention of medical professionals. But there is one thing that meant directly for patients and this thing is the drug package.

The basic principle of any advertising campaign may be described through the well known slogan “Create a problem and offer its solution!” Maybe this is the reason for plenty of farfetched issues and unnecessary objects in our reality. Thanks to God and to the law regulations, advertising of medicinal products is exclusion as only two terms – drug safety and drug efficacy – determine success where SAFETY is first.

Being a doctor I know very well how patients are sensitive to information what any drug package conveys. There are some observations concerning its design for those who are involved in creative process.

White is the best color for drug package background. Along with the drug name, ingredient names and the manufacturer name/address any package should have cautions as the route of administration, storage requirements, expiry date, batch number for reporting possible side effects and some others. They all are related to drug safety and readable best of all on white background.

Avoid using red colour in drug package design. It’s not the case when advertisement should have some red colour for coming in view as a popular opinion says. Red is associated with the colour of blood and danger. Not the best feeling for effective treatment.

Do not make drug package bright and motley. Treatment is not a show. Bright packs are also attracting kids who could be among patients’ family members. Per World Health Organization about 45 000 children die each year from unintended poisoning including drugs.

Some words about pictures for drug packages. Drawings of medicinal plants at the packages destined for medicinal products with herbal active ingredients are favorable because of a special trust in herbal remedies. Such drawings highlight them among drugs produced through chemical synthesis.Pictures of body parts as heart, liver, knee joint and some othersrelated to the drug purpose at packs could be useful when adult patients should take pills by themselves especially if they are not young or have visual impairments. Generally drug names are hardly pronounceable, hardly retainable in memory and hardly readable by senior patients or patients with visual disorders what confuses their intake when several treatments are applied. Pictures on drug packs may help to avoid confusing and add to efficacy thereby.

In conclusion it is worth mentioning the placebo effect proving that good expectations of the patient are able to cause improvement in his/her condition. Design of drug packages should make patients stay positive.

Thanks for reading,


Kyiv, Ukraine

Photo credits: Wavebreakmedia Ltd.
  • Olena1
I like details because the essence lurks in little things

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