Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medicines

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Over-The-Counter Medicines

Protect Against Tampering

Companies that make over-the-counter (OTC) medicines seal most products in tamper-evident packaging (TEP) to help protect against criminal tampering. Criminal tampering is the term used to describe intentional alteration of a medicine or other product that makes it harmful.

TEP works by providing visible evidence if the package has been disturbed. One of the most common forms of TEP is called induction sealing, a cap sealing process in which a metallic disk is sealed to the top of plastic or glass containers (Figure 1). Other common forms of TEP include shrink bands and tamper-evident caps.

Here's How to Protect Yourself

Be alert to the tamper-evident features on the package before you open it. These features are described on the label (Figure 1).

Inspect the outer packaging before you buy it. Make sure to always check the expiration date. When you get home, inspect the medicine inside.

Don’t buy an OTC product if the packaging is damaged.

Be suspicious! If anything looks suspicious, contact the store where you bought the product and take it back. Do not use if the tamper-evident seal is broken.

Don’t use any medicine that looks discolored, smells funny, or different in any way.