Friday, June 7, 2013

Nudging to lower deaths by over-medication

Over-medication, both deliberate and by accident, claims a large number of lives across the world. In this context, Times argues that packaging of commonly used "suicide pills" like Tylenol in small blister packs of 16-25, instead of bottles of 50-100, can reduce such deaths. It writes,
In September 1998, Britain changed the packaging for paracetamol, the active ingredient in Tylenol, to require blister packs for packages of 16 pills when sold over the counter in places like convenience stores, and for packages of 32 pills in pharmacies. The result: a study by Oxford University researchers showed that over the subsequent 11 or so years, suicide deaths from Tylenol overdoses declined by 43 percent, and a similar decline was found in accidental deaths from medication poisonings. In addition, there was a 61 percent reduction in liver transplants attributed to Tylenol toxicities.

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