#142: Double-decker dosage

I’ve been a little shaken to discover that the over-the-counter painkillers which my family uses have suddenly been doubled in strength -with minimal changes to the packaging and the pills themselves.

Maybe it’s because people find it easier to swallow a double-dose pill, or maybe headaches are just getting worse? I’m not sure how much more expensive they are, so I can’t comment on any possible profit motive.


In any case, this set me thinking about the possible dangers of parents feeding their family twice as much drug as they intended, purely because their medicine has been surreptitiously souped up. This would probably not be fatal, but potentially damaging for an already sick child.

Today’s invention is a way to provide people with a high-dose option (if that’s really necessary) whilst making the amount being taken explicit.

Supply double-strength tablets in a double decker blister package, one layer of which would be empty. Normally, pressing the back of the pack forces a tablet through the foil. In this upgrade, each tablet would then need to be forced through the second, empty layer of blister pack (and foil), so that the idea of double strength would be embodied physically and could therefore not be ignored.

The packs would need to be a bit bigger and more expensive, but given the cost of pharmaceuticals, this seems unimportant.

I’d also manufacture the pills themselves in an unattractive shade of snot-green, rather than Smartie-coloured, in order to minimise any possible confusion with confectionery -darker green could be used to code for the stronger type of tablet (given how reluctant children are to eat peas, this has got to be an effective safety measure).

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