The pharmaceutical industry is subject to rigorous legislation that includes all manufacturing processes and culminates in the final phase of delivering the medication to the customer, in a specific type of packaging.

If packages normally include numerous symbols and complex markings for the consumer to understand, in the case of medicines it is even more strict.

If you would like to be familiar with the symbols on medication packaging, the first thing you should know is that the name of the medication that appears on its box is formed by the name of the medication, its dosage and pharmaceutical form and when appropriate, mention about who it is intended for: children, adults or infants.

Similarly, a commercial name or, failing that, a DOE (Spanish Official Name) may appear on the packaging. It refers to the active substance (or substances) responsible for a medication’s therapeutic effect. The identification of medicines offers the guarantee that they comply with legal regulations and specifies their dosage and use.

Symbols on medication containers and their meaning

The General Council of Official Colleges of Pharmacists specifies in this chart the symbols that appear on the packaging of the medicines and their meaning:

Symbols that must appear on the package

The meaning of acronyms on medicine packaging

In addition to the different symbols presented in the data table above, the medication packages include certain acronyms, related to the type of drug they sell.

  • EFP (Advertising Medication): advertising is allowed, and it is not required to show a prescription at pharmacies for purchase.
  • H (Hospital use medication): These medications require a hospital to be responsible for their prescription and administration. This type of medication is identified with the letter “H” and a legend that reads: “Hospital use”, all of which must appear on its packaging.
  • EFG: these acronyms identify generic medications.
  • DH (Hospital diagnostic medication): medicines used in the treatment of pathologies that must be diagnosed either in a hospital or by specialists related to a hospital.
  • ECM (Special medical control medication): its use can cause quite serious adverse effects, which is why special conditions have been determined for its prescription, dispensation and administration.
  • MTP (Traditional herbal medication): based on their traditional use.
  • TLD (Long-term treatment): medicines for long-term treatments.

Drug legend

Apart from the symbols and acronyms, pharmaceutical packages include captions with different indications of mandatory use:

When the medicine is funded by the Social Security system, its packaging must have the seal coupon where the name of the drug and pharmaceutical form, its place of manufacture and barcode are visible, in addition to the name of the marketing authorization holder. In the case of non-funded medicines, this coupon is replaced by a barcode.

Although they are not mandatory, other symbols and acronyms that may appear on the outside of the packaging are:

symbols and acronyms

The pharmaceutical industry is subject to rigorous legislation, if ypu want more information contact us.

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