How One Incident in Chicago Changed the Pharma Packaging Industry Forever

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Chances are you’re more or less aware that one of the pharmaceutical industry’s top priorities when packaging medical supplies is tamper proofing. It’s why pharma packaging services‘ blister packaging and bottle packaging products are heat sealed with foil, or have other tamper proof measures put in place.

What you might know is why the pharmaceutical industry started packaging medical supplies this way.

It all started in Chicago on the morning of September 29, 1982. Mary Kellerman, a 12-year-old from Elk Grove Village, Illinois took a couple extra-strength Tylenol, and consequentially died. Soon enough, Adam Janus of Alrington Heights, Illinois, also died in a hospital after taking Tylenol, too. His brother, Stanley, and Stanley’s wife Theresa, then gathered to mourn for Stanley, but took some of Adam’s Tylenol, and also died.

Eventually, seven people from the Chicago area had died after taking what they innocently thought was Tylenol, but soon turned out to be potassium cyanide, a lethal poison. Someone had been going into various supermarkets and drug stores over the course of several weeks, grabbing bottles of Tylenol, tampering with them, and then putting them back in other stores.

Even though the person or people responsible were never caught, some good did come out of the incident. In 1983, the U.S. congress passed the “Tylenol Bill,” which made it a federal offense to tamper with medicine. In 1989, the Food and Drug Administration created new outlines describing how the pharmaceutical industry needed to be packaging medical supplies.

Of course, companies didn’t need to be warned by authorities. Pharma companies immediately started packaging medical goods differently in an effort to keep sales in the black.

Who would have thought that such simple designs would have a tragic past? If you have any comments about how companies are packaging medical goods now, feel free to share. Read this for more.