The pharmaceutical industry has taken many steps to prevent over-the-counter and prescription medications from being tampered with during transit from the manufacturing plant to the pharmacy and your home. However, everyone knows that cardboard can become crushed or torn and even plastic bottles can be broken. Use the following tips to reduce the risk that any intentional tampering has occurred with over-the-counter or prescription medication you and your family use.
- Look at the packaging. If there is any break in the integrity of the outside packaging, select another package. If you find a prescription package that has a break in its integrity, return it to the pharmacy and ask for assistance.
- When you open the outer packaging at home, check the label to be certain the drug is what it should be and that the label is intact and contains the information you expect to see. Also, check to be certain the container and any inner seals are intact. The lid should be closed and properly sealed (most over-the-counter medications now have tamper-proof seals).
- When you open the container, look at the medication. It should appear fresh, not discolored, and should appear undisturbed and intact. Some residue may be present with tablets and even with capsules, but there should not be any broken surfaces on solid medications or foreign matter in liquid solutions. If a liquid has seeped over the sides of the bottle, you may want to ask the pharmacist to replace the medication for you, as contaminants could adhere to the escaped liquid or the leak may be the result of poor packaging from the manufacturer.