I have a dry tickly cough at the moment, arising I think from a bacterial throat infection. So I asked Anita if she would get me a bottle of tickly cough medicine at the local pharmacy while she was out, and she came back with this bottle of Clarix. The pharmacist told her two useful things about it: it's for tickly coughs, and you should take great care if driving after having taken some.
So now it's the end of the day, my driving is done, and I'm up for having my cough sorted out. Out of the box come a bottle and a folded sheet of paper. The box looks empty but it still rattles, so I turn it upside-down and out falls a translucent plastic spoon, previously invisible at the bottom of the box.
So I look on the bottle for instructions on how to take it, that is, how much I'm supposed to take in one go, and how often I can do it. No instructions. On the box, maybe? Ah yes. So I make a mental note not to throw the box away.
Apparently, I can take 1-2 soup spoonfuls every six hours, subject to a maximum of 8 soup spoonfuls per day. Jolly good, so what is the capacity of the standard French soup spoon? Or, even better, since you have provided me with a spoon, how does the capacity of the spoon you have provided relate to the capacity of a soup spoon? I can't find this information anywhere on the sheet of paper, the box or the bottle.
I imagine that the spoon provided can't possibly be a soup spoon, being so small that you would die of hunger trying to get enough down to stay alive. I hold it up carefully to the light to see if it has anything on it to help me. If I hold it just right, I can faintly see some characters embossed on it. They're hard to read, being formed in translucent plastic on a background of ....translucent plastic. But I can just about make out a CE mark (very comforting to those of us who worry about such things) and what looks like an "m" in a circle. Nothing that looks like its capacity.
So if I want to be careful, I have to look up the capacity of a standard French soup spoon on the internet, (I've just done it, it's 15c.c.s) and then if I can be bothered, measure the capacity of the spoon that came in the box (probably a coffee spoon, 5c.c.s but I've not measured it) and do a small calculation. In the end I just took a couple of swigs.
They have small villages of expensive civil servants who dictate to pharma companies what information they have to tell the punters. And yet they can't manage to provide the most basic information about how to use the product, in a way that is clear and complete. Who recruits these guys?