Taiwan: Pharmacies Receive Assistance to Meet Labeling Requirements

After conducting several recent investigations into medicine labeling habits of pharmacies in Taiwan, the Taiwan Department of Health (DOH) found that some pharmacies are failing to comply with the labeling requirements. Currently, several associations in Taiwan are establishing programs to provide additional services to pharmacies, helping to improve labeling procedures and standards.

According to a regulation passed by the DOH in May 2002, medicine labels should contain 13 mandatory items, including the pharmacy name and address, pharmaceutical name, the dosage and administration, etc. The DOH suggests that three additional items be included on the label: main medical indicators, main side-effects, and any other items (warnings, special storage methods, etc.). The DOH investigation found that some pharmacies do not comply with the mandatory regulations, and very few pharmacies include the optional warning information. The Bureau of Pharmaceutical Affiars (BoPA) will take action against improper labeling, fining pharmacists up to NT$6000 (approximately $180) if they do not abide by the DOH labeling regulations.

In order to improve labeling in pharmacies, two groups are taking measures to provide for easier labeling methods. First, the Medical Affairs Bureau will issue a CD-ROM to pharmacies, providing the required labeling information for over 200 prescription drugs. A pharmacy will be able to print out information about a particular drug and include it with the medication. Second, the Taiwanese National Union of Pharmacist Associations is currently compiling a list of frequently used medical warnings. In the future, the Union will provide pharmacies with a list of these warnings in the form of labels.