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speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: space-time
Date: February 19, 2019 11:43AM
When I grew up in my home country, I remember medicine being in blister packs or in a bottle with OEM label, so you can check expiration date.

here in USA most medicine is dispenses in those orange (?) bottles and CVS prints their own label. You have no way to check expiration date, or even fi they gave you the correct pills. yes, sometimes they say the pill is this size and has that shape and maybe there is a code on the pill.

But recently I got a prescription and it came in blister packs and I am curious why this is not more common. It would be more hygienic (no additional handling), you can see it is the correct pill, expiration dates, it would be protected against humidity, etc. I really don't see any downsides to blister packs. The medicine is so expensive that these blister packs would be well below 0.1% of the cost of medicine.

Please enlighten me why we have this dispense in a bottle system here in USA.

Thanks
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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: February 19, 2019 11:55AM
It would be really easy to put in counterfeit pills if the blister packs weren't see-through.

Blister packs do make a lot of sense for medicines that are sensitive to moisture like aspirin. I don't know how much expense it would add to a bottle of 300.



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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: February 19, 2019 12:08PM
I can see the value of pre-packaged, but the current system uses less waste, and allows a pharmacist to dispense any number of pills into just one container.
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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: GGD
Date: February 19, 2019 12:11PM
I think the main reason for the orange plastic bottles is that the pharmacy gets the pills in larger bottles from the manufacturer.

But sometimes if you get a 90 day supply of a common medication, the manufacturer makes 90 pill bottles and the pharmacy just slaps a label on it, and never opens the bottle.

My experience has been that the pharmacy includes the expiration date on their bottle label, sometimes it's hand written, but I assume it's copied from the larger bottle that they got them from.

I personally would hate if my mothers pills came in blister packs. I use 7-day pill dispensers for her and fill them with each day's pills, and prepare a month in advance every time I visit. It would take forever to open blister packs for over 200 pills when I'm filling her pill dispensers.
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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: February 19, 2019 12:11PM
.....it makes it easier to take a chill......pill.......



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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 19, 2019 12:12PM
Space,

Blister packs are fine for medicine you take just occasionally or for a short amount of time, i.e. pseudoephedrine 12 hour. Daily meds? Blister packs a pain in the butt and they take up more space than a bottle in the pantry. FWIW, some meds are dispensed in blister packs. Some in bottles. Some in boxes containing ampules. It varies on the specific medicine, who it's for and who's dispensing it. Many are shipped/provided in the OEM's bottle, with a custom label on it.

I recently got a great deal on omaprazole via Costco.com. It came in boxes containing blister packs, which annoyed me to no end. It's a nuisance to have to pop each tablet out of the pack in the morning and the packs take up lots of space on the double-decker turnstile I use for medicine in the pantry. So, once every two weeks, I pop the tablets out of the pack and put them in a specific container, just for omaprazole, which in turn is placed on the turnstile in its proper location/order.

BTW, a blister pack isn't necessarily going to protect medication from humidity. If you keep medicine in the medicine cabinet of the bathroom you use for daily showers/baths, it's going to be subjected to changes in humidity and temperature, regardless of how it's packaged.

My family stores the vast majority of medication and vitamins and supplements in the pantry in our kitchen or in a special location in a bedroom, all out of reach and secure from little fingers.

Here are some guidelines for storing medication:

[easydrugcard.com]

[consumer.healthday.com]

[medlineplus.gov]

Robert
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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: February 19, 2019 12:24PM
FWIW, blister packs are heavily used in medical facilities. And the medical personnel get blisters dealing with them.....
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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: February 19, 2019 12:26PM
.......harder to overdose.....those blister packs are so annoying that it you will give up.......



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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: February 19, 2019 12:33PM
I'm not a fan of wasteful packaging.



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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: February 19, 2019 12:43PM
Quote
GGD
I personally would hate if my mothers pills came in blister packs. I use 7-day pill dispensers for her and fill them with each day's pills, and prepare a month in advance every time I visit. It would take forever to open blister packs for over 200 pills when I'm filling her pill dispensers.
Exactly. Same routine with my sister-in-law for my mother, albeit weekly not monthly.

PS: I cannot stand blister packs. There are some really crappy ones that are difficult to get into, and with my luck my meds would use those manufacturers.



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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: February 19, 2019 01:40PM
I surmised it was to slow down overdosing, but I have nothing to base that on.
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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: space-time
Date: February 19, 2019 02:30PM
Thanks, I can see why some people prefer bottles, makes sense. I am at an age when I do not yet take daily medications, just once in a while. So probably when I get older and my fingers get weaker, I will probably hate blister packs.

Anyway. Point well made.

Does anyone know how medicine is dispenses in other countries?

I will ask my Mom (in Romania), she takes 4-5 types of medicine several times per day (diabetes) and IIRC when she visits us she comes with several boxes of blister packs, so I assume medicine over there is still in blister packs, or most of it. I will ask her if she ever gets them in a bottle similar to the US system.

I know some of you lived in France (Lux Interior), Japan (Drew), and I think Todd's Keyboard is in Canada, Speedy is now in Guatemala, so I am curious how it is in other countries. Thanks
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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: dk62
Date: February 19, 2019 02:42PM
It is mainly to increase the profit of the middle man (pharmacy). They will order bulk shipments even when 30-day bottles are available. And yes, blister packs are more hygienic and moisture resistant (even if not moisture-proof).

This seems stupid for most of us coming from abroad, as we are used to seeing the complete PI plus the patient guide accompany each package, as manufacturers are required to provide those by health authorities. But the pharmacies provide just the dumbed-down bare-bone instruction/information sheet with their repackaged pills (these days, internet helps).

Not to mention possibility of medication error.

Finally, the expiration date that your pharmacy slaps on the bottle is generally meaningless, usually just 1 year from filling date, and does not reflect the true expiration date, which is often several years later.
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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 19, 2019 02:50PM
dk62,

Bottles usually have multiple dates. One is an expiration date. Another is the last date that the medicine can be refilled on the prescription. The last refill date is a year from the date it was filled. That date doesn't necessarily have any bearing on the expiration date. And, the pharmacy may slap its own expiration date on it, which may reflect the expiration date of the bulk container from which the prescription was filled.

Robert
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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: February 19, 2019 03:02PM
I surmised it was to slow down overdosing

Blister packs for daily medications would be enough to drive most anybody into overdosing.

Doctors prescribe different amounts for different people. 'Sorry ma'am, we're out of the 30-pack, I can sell you three 10-packs for $11 more... No, I can't sell you a 40-pack, for the same price or otherwise...'




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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: February 19, 2019 05:47PM
Quote
space-time
Speedy is now in Guatemala

We bought cough suppressants (like cough drops only they contain an anesthetic for the throat) which came in a blister pack. No experience with other meds so far.



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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: Buzz
Date: February 19, 2019 06:53PM
Unfortunately, I have to take a whole bunch of meds on a daily basis, and two of them only come blister packed. One is to maintain potency (evidently air is bad for it), and the other is also for potency, and to keep people that could be harmed by touching them, from touching them. Pharma is different in the USA, so we just have to deal w/ what we get wherever we happen to be.
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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: wave rider
Date: February 20, 2019 02:42AM
CHILD PROOF CAPS!

They want to watch you to struggle with child proof caps, it is so entertaining.

I have only had a few prescriptions come in blister packs. They succumb to scissors but still a hassle.



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Re: speaking about medicine: why do they give you pills in a bottle and not in plastic blister packs?
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: February 21, 2019 04:49PM
Quote
space-time
I know some of you lived in France (Lux Interior), Japan (Drew), and I think Todd's Keyboard is in Canada, Speedy is now in Guatemala, so I am curious how it is in other countries. Thanks

It was blister packs in France.
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