Section V. THE POISON PREVENTION PACKAGING ACT OF 1970
Some patients complain about the "child-resistant" prescription containers they
receive in the pharmacy. These people say that the containers are too difficult to open.
How did this "child-resistant" packaging come about? What was the impact of this Act
on the outpatient pharmacy? This section will explore these questions.
2-13. THE POISON PREVENTION PACKAGING ACT OF 1970
The purpose of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 is to reduce
poisonings among small children. The Act provides that certain household products
(such as aspirins and certain other drugs, including oral prescription drugs; furniture
polish; oil of wintergreen; antifreeze; some cleaners for drains and ovens; turpentine;
and cigarette lighter fluid) which are found to be hazardous or potentially hazardous
must be sold in safety packaging. This safety packaging must be designed so that most
children under five years of age cannot open the packages.
2-14. THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE POISON PREVENTION PACKAGING ACT
a. The Act requires the previously mentioned products to be packaged in
containers which are sufficiently difficult to open that they cannot be opened by 80
percent of children under five years of age. However, the containers must allow access
to at least 90 percent of adults who will be able to open and properly close the
b. The Act requires that the prescription filled in the pharmacy--with the
exceptions noted in paragraph 2-15 below--be dispensed in child-resistant containers.
The requirements below are especially important:
(1) Prescriptions that are not to be refilled. For a prescription that is not to
be refilled, the medication must be dispensed in either a glass or a plastic container with
a child-resistant top.
(2) Prescriptions that are to be refilled. For a prescription that is to be
refilled, the medication must be dispensed in either a glass or a plastic container with a
child-resistant top. If the medication is dispensed in a glass container, a new child-
resistant top must be placed on the container whenever the prescription is refilled. If the
medication is dispensed in a plastic container, upon refilling, the medication must be
placed in a new plastic container with a new child-resistant top. This means that a new
label must be prepared for the refill when the medication is placed in a plastic container.