HealthPRO News

November 25, 2021

HealthPRO’s ongoing work with suppliers helps identify look-alike labelling issue with common anesthetic drugs

Image of pharmacy employee handling medication

As part of HealthPRO’s ongoing effort to support safe medication management, its pharmacy RFP process includes a robust product evaluation through which we proactively share with suppliers any areas for improvements to packaging and labelling.

Product evaluations are carried out by member pharmacists, nurses, and pharmacy technicians from across the country who evaluate the products according to HealthPRO’s criteria which are based on Health Canada requirements and guidelines, as well as recommendations from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) Canada and the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP).

Recently, our members identified two look-alike situations between Aspen’s Sensorcaine® and Xylocaine® products (images below).

Image comparing similarities in labelling of two medications

Following open dialogue with Aspen, HealthPRO was asked to review the labelling content and design of two of these anesthetic injectables to help identify any risks.

During the review process, Aspen provided current artwork of the labels of the two products in vials and plastic ampoules. The HealthPRO team analyzed the artwork and all images and samples on file and provided detailed feedback to the supplier based on best practice guidelines.

Potential issues identified include a similar layout and colour blocking, the same shape and size of the vials, and the same or very similar ferrule and cap colour. These similarities add to the risk that one product will be mistaken for another.

Commendably, Aspen has taken this instrumental feedback and has already started actively looking for ways to improve these labelling issues, ultimately leading to safer medication management and improved patient outcomes.

For more information please contact:

Tracy Gallina, Clinical Director, Pharmacy