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Possession of prescription drugs without proper labeling


Many people in Philadelphia take prescription drugs for various reasons. Sometimes it is for short periods of time to deal with pain after a surgery or to help with an illness. Other times people take medications for permanent illnesses or conditions and will always take the prescription. However, many people also take these prescription drugs without a prescription or may have had a prescription, but no longer do.

People caught with the drugs without a prescription may be charged with drug possession. However, even those with a valid prescription must make sure it is in the proper container and have a proper label. The label must be prominently placed on the container and be written in a way that an ordinary person can understand it.

There are certain requirements for the label as well. The common name of the drug must be on the label and, if there is not a common name, it must state the active drugs contained in the prescription. The label must also state the directions for use, if there are dangers to children or for use with other drugs or conditions. Warnings regarding dangers of the length of use or if more than the proper amount is taken at one time must also be on the labels. If the drug may be habit-forming the label must contain a warning about that as well. There are other regulations in addition to these as well.

If a person is in possession of a prescription drug with a label that is removed, altered or does not contain the proper information, they may be charged with a crime. If convicted, the person could be facing jail time.

Even people who have a valid prescription may be charged with a crime if they have it in an improperly labeled container. There may be defenses available and everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Experienced attorneys understand the potential defenses and may be able to protect one's rights.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health, "The controlled substance, drug, device and cosmetic act," accessed on Sept. 28, 2015

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