Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has put out a call for federal regulators to demand safer packaging for all children’s medications, including placing flow restrictors (small plastic valves that fit into the necks of bottles of liquid medicine) in order to prevent accidental overdoses. The call comes following a special investigation by ProPublica and testing by Consumer Reports, which showed that the devices could help prevent approximately 10,000 visits to the emergency room each year by kids who drank too much medicine.
“Flow restrictors wil save lives, save money and cost almost nothing to implement (just about 8-10cents a bottle), so the question is why on earth wouldn’t we require them to be uused?” he stated. “We believe the FDA and Consumer Products Safety Commission have the authority to get this done, and they need to get started right away. If they don’t do it on their own, I will seriously consider legislation.”
Although the pharmaceutical industry voluntarily placed flow restrictors in bottles of infant’s acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol in 2011 (as well as other acetaminophen products products fo kids), these meds only account for 25% of the emergency room visits. The rest are mostly attibuted to incidences involving common OTC medicines such as cough and cold formulas, ibuprofen and antihistamines.