Bristol-Myers yesterday displayed its response to the Tylenol poisonings--a new, tamper-resistant, pull-top can for its Excedrin pain-killer capsules similar to containers for tennis balls, peanuts and hot puddings.
Although the can apparently costs more than the tamper-resistent packaging that will be used by competing drug firms, Bristol-Myers executives figure its ease of opening will appeal to the elderly--the largest single users of pain killers.
"We looked to not only finding a package that was as tamper-resistant as we could make it, but one that was also easy to open," said Bruce Gelb, president of Bristol Myers' consumer product group.
"We did not approach this from the basis of how much it would cost. We looked at it from the consumer point of view," he added.
He said the new packaging costs an extra five cents, which is not being passed on to the consumer. But Gelb hopes the costs will decrease as "the ingenious packaging people" develop new methods to cut the costs.
New, tamper-resistant packaging will be required by next month on all capsules sold over the counter in an attempt by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent more poisonings of drug packages like last fall's Tylenol episodes. The FDA permitted manufacturers to develop their own designs.