What’s Up With Adult-Proof Caps On Medications?
Many of you are too young to remember the Tylenol Murders. In 1982 seven people died in Chicago by taking Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide.
The first victim was 12-year-old Mary Kellerman of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, who died from taking Extra-Strength Tylenol.
How did the poisoner get the tainted pills into the bottles with all the safeguards on medications? Simple. We didn’t have all those safeguards in 1982. Pop the top and pour in the bad stuff.
No one was ever arrested for the horrific event. We didn’t have surveillance cameras then.
However, because of this incident, and many copycats, we now have over the top safeguards for all over the counter and many prescription medications.
Who Defines Child Proof?
Those of us are who are familiar with how difficult it is to get into some medications will echo my title.
What’s the deal with these un-openable caps on medications? Imagine a poor senior, which would be me, trying to get into some of these blister packs.
I usually give up and go for the scissors or a sharp knife that might result in more destruction to my body or the counter top than the side effects of the medicine itself.
I was a child. I got into a lot of stuff. But I think there must be some packaging genius somewhere that can make a child proof medical enclosure that an adult can open without lining up two points or press down while turning.
Tylenol And Johnson & Johnson
At the time of the poisoning, Tylenol was the top selling over-the-counter medication in America. To Johnson & Johnson’s credit they emptied Tylenol off every shelf in America after the incident received wide media coverage.
Thirty-one million bottle of Tylenol were recalled costing the company over $100 million in 1982 dollars.
No company had ever done anything like that before to safeguard the American public.
There was also a re-launch of Tylenol following the incident that cost more millions. J&J decided not to change the name and that worked for them in the long run.
Tylenol with new protective packaging was once again the number one selling over the counter medication in America within a couple of years.
Some Final Thoughts
I’m torn between the need for protective packaging and the economics of overdoing it. Unfortunately the need to protect the public is paramount.
Yet the need for them because of the actions of one or two disturbed people makes me wonder how hard it has to be to pop the top on your Prozac?
No questions that the costs of these frustrating packaging safeguards are passed on to us in the form of higher prices.
You can opt out of childproof caps for your prescriptions by signing a simple form at your pharmacy — every six months or so.
The other part of the equation is TV showing us every ten seconds that the answer to all our woes is in this colorful little pill with only about 50 side effects.
Oh, and there's a study that claims maximum use of Tylenol can damage healthy livers.
Must be why the bottles have adult proof caps.