Safer naming, labelling, packaging and storage of medicines

The Commission works with national and international partners to improve the safety of medicines naming, labelling and packaging.

Labelling standardisation

In Australia, national standards that apply to safe naming, labelling and packaging of medicines include the National Standard for User-applied Labelling of Injectable Medicines, Fluids and Lines (the Labelling Standard)

The Labelling Standard replaces the previous editions of the National Recommendations for User-applied Labelling of Injectable Medicines, Fluids and Lines (the Labelling Recommendations).

The Labelling Standard applies to all clinical areas in Australian health services where injectable medicines and fluids are administered. It is a mandatory requirement for meeting the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards (second edition) – in particular the Medication Safety Standard.

Tall Man Lettering

The Commission developed Australia’s National Tall Man Lettering List  to reduce the risk of medicine selection errors. The Commission supports the use of Tall Man lettering as part of a multifaceted approach to reducing risks associated with confusable medicine names.

Other medicine safety recommendations

The Recommendations for Terminology, Abbreviations and Symbols used in Medicines Documentation set out principles for safe, clear and consistent terminology for medicines, and safe terms, abbreviations and dose designations for medicines. This can help to eliminate the use of ambiguous error-prone terminology and promote patient safety.

In addition, the Commission has developed and published National Guidelines for On-Screen Display of Medicines Information for clinicians and consumers.