Posted: Jul 05, 2013 6:38 PM EST
FAITH, NC (WBTV) -A Rowan County couple says they are outraged after a local pharmacy company handed out pill bottles filled with candy during a 4th of July parade.
Donald Hobart called the WBTV newsroom on Friday morning and said Price Pharmacy in Granite Quarry handed out the pill bottles with Skittles inside during the parade in Faith on Thursday.
“As they come by, they threw this prescription bottle out for kids; my grandkids and my friends’ kids,” Donald Hobart said.
“My four-year-old son brought it to me and I immediately took it from him,” Heather Hobart told WBTV. “I don’t think a child is going to know the difference. They are going to see a bottle and say ‘My last bottle had candy in it and let’s go home and get in mama and daddy’s medicine cabinet and see if there is candy in there’.”
Price Pharmacy, which is a fairly new business in Granite Quarry, told WBTV the pill bottles weren’t aimed at marketing to children.
The owner says they threw out loose candy to children and specifically handed the pill bottles to adults.
He says he thinks this mother misunderstood their intentions. Out of the nearly 30,000 parade goers, this was the only complaint.
The bottles are blue and the label has information about the store’s hours and location. The most common pharmacy medication bottle is orange.
“The intent was to use something like a medicine bottle. By using a different color, they thought this would not lead to confusion. But if someone can’t read, color may not be the only distinguishing thing they would use to recognize what something is,” said Interim Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists Fred Eckel.
“It’s nice to market your services as a pharmacy,” he continued.”We want people to be aware of who we are and what we do, but this perhaps may not be best practice.”
“One of our big prevention points is ‘medicine is not candy’,” said Dr. Anna Dulaney, a Medical Toxicologist with Carolinas Poison Center. “Teach your child that medicine is not candy because there are medicines that look like candy. The use of skittles is even kind of worse in this setting.”
Dulaney says about half of the drug exposures that the Center sees are in children under the age of 6.
“A growing problem is adolescent substance abuse and we already know from some of the focus groups we’ve had from teenagers locally – they already feel like prescription drug abuse is no big deal,” Dulaney said.
The pharmacy and parade organizers say no other people complained about the candy bottles.
An organizer of the event did say parade participants tell them what they are going to pass out, but says the pharmacy did not make it clear the type of container the candy was going to be in.
She says it does raise concern and would have probably told them it was not a good idea.
The pharmacy says it won’t be advertising like this again.
Faith Parade organizers are not upset with Price Pharmacy and welcome the business’ support of the event.
WBTV wants to be clear - the pharmacy has done nothing illegal and the Hobart family is the family who has come forward to complain.
Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.