Child Safe Packaging Group

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Chicago Speech Prompts Response
Date posted: Thursday 24 June, 1999 at 12:37pm
Page Title: Chicago Speech Prompts Response
Stephen Wilkins??? presentation to the United States Closure Manufacturers Association, at their conference in Chicago in September 1999, caused quite a stir. The USA Plastics News magazine wrote two articles which sum up how surprised the USA packaging industry is at the UK???s ???resistance??? to Child resistant packaging for pharmaceuticals Child Resistant Closures In The United Kingdom
For The Closure Manufacturers Association


Ladies and Gentlemen Good Morning.

Firstly let me say what an honour and a privilege it is to address you here in Chicago this morning.

As your chairman said when he introduced me I am the Secretary of the Child-Safe Packaging Group in the UK. Secretary is one of those peculiar British words you know and it can have a multitude of meanings.

Some would argue that in my case it means chief bottle washer! Or even lord high everything else. But it is true to say that over the past four and a half years I have project managed and driven every initiative that has been undertaken by the Child-Safe Packaging Group.


This group represents the greater part of the supply industry for reclosable child resistant packaging in the UK, most of them closure manufacturers. You can see on the screen that our membership is truly impressive.

I would like to start now by giving you some background into child resistant packaging in the UK, perhaps draw some distinctions between the way we have tackled the subject and way that you have done so here in the United States. I will then go on to tell you how this group was formed and its initial and continuing objectives, and then I will finish by saying what we have achieved, where we are now and what we have yet to achieve in our mission to promote child resistant packaging solutions wherever the packaged product could cause distress to a child if they, either ingest it or come into contact with it in some other way.

CR Packaging

In the UK

In the UK our decade of consumerism occurred somewhat later than yours; perhaps we did not have a Ralph Nader to drive it?

But it can be fairly said that the 1970???s saw the greater part of the UK???s consumer legislation being enacted. Amongst this plethora of regulation was the 1975 Medicines (Child Safety) regulations. Initially these regulations were applicable only to childrens Aspirin and Paracetamol. Although subsequently increased to include adult versions of these drugs, Aspirin and Paracetamol remained the only products where child resistant packaging is legally required.

Its use elsewhere arises solely as a piece of self-regulation by either the pharmaceutical industry, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society or other manufacturers or retailers.

The move to child resistant packaging gave rise to products which you will find familiar ???

Push down & turn CRC???s

Double walled squeeze & turn closures

Single walled squeeze & turn closures

Jigger cap CRC???s

And Line up the arrow systems

The regulations were drafted by a committee of physicians, pharmacists and pharmaceutical manufacturers but sad to say not one packaging designer or engineer. And it is probably for this reason that the anomaly of blister and strip packs first came into being and has continued to this day.

Keep in mind blister and strip packs were fairly rare in the UK back in the early 1970???s. However the regulations initially said, and I quote, "Blister packs should be constructed from materials with a view to making them child resistant."

Over the intervening years between the mid 70???s and late 90???s this rather woolly specification grew into the dictum, again quoting, "Blister packs may be considered to be inherently child resistant".

The ascription of inherently child resistant was first given to blister packs by the National Pharmaceutical Association in the UK and based upon work undertaken by H.M. Wiseman et al (1987) and an extrapolation of Wiseman???s work published by the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB) also in 1987. Interestingly it was the PAGB that sponsored Wiseman???s study, and, to explain, the Proprietary Association of Great Britain is the industry group representing manufacturers of over the counter medicines and preparations in the United Kingdom. It just could be that the 1987 research was self-serving for its sponsor. However I must stress ??? it just could be.

Now remember these were not peel and push or any other system requiring, for example, an element of understanding or cognisance, they were simple push through PVC and foil blister packs.

In 1995 the UK Government, in response to EU directive 92/27EEC concerning patient information, launched what it termed the Patient Pack Initiative. Part of this project included the dispensing of prescription drugs ex-factory in quantities of fixed numbers of daily doses.

Pharmacists would no longer count out tablets or capsules, but manufacturers would pack ready for dispensing. As well as constraining the physicians authority to dispense in the exact number that he or she considered proper, this directive acted consciously or unc ...
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