The Consumer Product Safety Commission has opened a review on whether it should change its rules on child-resistant blister packaging.
Blister packaging trade group Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council has been urging CPSC to change what it contends are overly subjective government safety rules for unit-dose packaging, and it argues that current rules make manufacturers less likely to use blister packaging.
The agency has not made a decision, but is asking interested parties, including pharmaceutical makers, poison-control centers and drug stores, what they think of HCPC's idea. Any commission decision is at least six months away.
Peter Mayberry, executive director of Falls Church, Va.-based HCPC, said the group suggested that the agency adopt a pass/fail standard for blister packaging that says that any packaging fails child-resistant criteria if a child is able to open eight individual unit-dose containers.
The standard now is eight or any lower amount that a pharmaceutical company deems would cause serious injury or illness.
Current child-resistant-packaging rules favor other packaging, like bottles, because only unit-dose packaging has that subjective criteria, Mayberry said. HCPC has analyzed CPSC childhood poisoning data and contends that unit-dose packaging is safer than bottles.
``The current subjective standard is a deterrent to the greater use of unit-dose packaging,'' he said. ``Manufacturers just throw up their hands.''