In an attempt to make prescription drug warnings more readily understandable by consumers, decision-makers at the FDA last week ordered prescription drug manufacturers to start following new guidelines that should make the fine-print of prescription ads more consumer-friendly. In other words, warning labels should be more ergonomic.
Honing in on the fine print of prescription-drug print ads and the difficulties consumers may have reading and understanding any associated warnings, the FDA’s new guidelines recommend the following:
- lay terms rather than medical jargon in warnings so a potential user of the prescription drug can comprehend the list of possible side-effects;
- a reorganization of ads to put the most common risks and potentially lifesaving information at the beginning of the ad’s warning statements;
- bigger font sizes for warnings, thereby improving readability; and
- relocation of the warnings and side-effects to the same page as the ad rather than behind it.
The motivation behind the new guidelines are to create something patients will both read and understand, something the FDA believes is not presently the case. Patients do not read the lengthy warnings, the FDA said, and when they try, the guidance given is often not understood.
The FDA also believes there may a positive side-effect for drug manufacturers