Medication Safety & Labeling

To assist healthcare professionals in the delivery of optimal patient care, USP establishes standards in the USP–NF for labeling and physical environments that promote safe medication use (e.g., procurement, prescribing, transcribing, order entry, preparation, dispensing, administration, and monitoring of medications). USP serves as the secretariat and is a member of the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCC–MERP).

Click on the links below to learn about USP's current medication and safety initiatives.

General Chapters

  • <1> Injections, Labeling on Ferrules and Cap Overseals
    The labeling section of chapter <1> was revised to include prevention of medication errors related to misinterpreting messages on ferrules and cap overseals. Healthcare practitioners using injectable products must be able to easily see and act on labeling statements that convey important safety messages critical for the prevention of imminent life-threatening situations. These cautionary labeling statements must be simple, concise, and devoid of nonessential information. Products that do not require cautionary statements should be free of information, so that those with cautionary statements are immediately apparent. This revision is scheduled to become official December 1, 2013.
  • <7> Labeling This general chapter provides definitions and standards for labeling of official articles. It provides guidance on ensure a manufactured labeled products are clear and useful to practitioners and patients. 
  • <17> Prescription Container Labeling This chapter applies to labeling instructions and information on prescription containers that are directly dispensed to the patient to promote better patient understanding. It provides guidance on how to ensure safe and appropriate use of medication and guidance on how to help patients adhere to the prescribed medication regimen.
  • <1066> Physical Environments that Promote Safe Medication Use
    The work environment has been identified as one of the most commonly reported factors contributing to medication errors reported to USP. This chapter describes optimal physical environment standards that promote accurate medication use and improve the performance of persons involved in the medication use process in any practice setting, including the patient’s home. Physical environments addressed include illumination, sound and noise, interruptions and distractions, and physical design and organization of workspace. Recent revision to <1066> became official May 1, 2011.



National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention

USP is a founding member and secretariat for the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCC MERP). NCC MERP is an independent body comprising 26 national healthcare organizations, including the American Pharmacists Association, the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, which are collaborating to address the interdisciplinary causes of errors and to promote the safe use of medications. For more information about this group and its work, visit

Collaborative Partnerships

Meetings & Education

USP hosts meetings and education courses focused on pharmacy, medication safety, and other areas related to patient care. For a complete list of events, visit the USP Meetings calendar.