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Innovative Labels Expire When Medication Expires

'Expiring' Labels For Expiring Medication

In an attempt to dissuade people from using medications that have expired, self-expiring labels - as they're called - visually transform once a product has reached its expiration. According to Red Dot, a nonprofit that recognizes design achievements in various industries and gave self-expiring labels an award, the packaging graphically changes to display a "Not fit for consumption" message that includes universal warning signs in regional languages.

The organization explained consumption of expired medications is a major international problem. Often times, people ignore drug packaging, or dates are printed too small, fade as the product ages or aren't seen for other reasons, making these markings ineffective.

The result of this is prolonged illness, higher health care costs and even fatal danger in some cases, Red Dot stated. 

Custom Labels Seek to Tackle Issues
In an attempt to confront the dangers of consuming expired medication, designers Kanupriya Goel and Gautam Goel created custom labels made of two layers. The foreground layer contains information pertaining to the medication and the background - which is invisible to the consumer eye until the product reaches its expiration - contains the warning message. Sheets of diffusible material separate these layers. As time passes, ink from the warning layer seeps through these sheets and eventually becomes visible.