Wondering if you took your pills? Simplified prescription packaging can help

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 5, 2012

(BPT) – “Drugs do not work in patients who do not take them,” said former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. This simple statement points to one of largest and most serious health problems in the United States. Data suggests that roughly half of the 3 billion prescriptions filled each year in America are not taken correctly resulting in increased hospitalizations and admissions to nursing homes, and billions of dollars in avoidable health care costs.

According to experts, the causes of poor medication adherence vary. Some blame it on high out-of-pocket costs for medications; others blame it on concerns over potential side effects. However, all experts agree that confusion and general forgetfulness are primary contributors to medications being taken incorrectly.

Ian Salditch, CEO of Medicine-On-Time thinks the solution to adherence comes down to something quite simple – better packaging. “In my view, dispensing multiple different medications in a series of very similar little containers is a recipe for mistakes,” he says. “Then we wrap each little container with its own unique set of little printed directions, each with varying dosages and times. It’s no wonder we so often get it wrong.”

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There are a variety of solutions aimed at improving adherence from hi-tech monitoring systems to consumer financial incentives. Some offer promise. But, Salditch has focused on customized packaging of multiple medications. His company developed a lower-tech common sense approach that offers a smarter way for people to take multiple medications. Using Medicine-On-Time, pharmacists sort and organize medications into personalized pill cups labeled with the day, date and time to take them. Pharmacists provide all the pill cups to the patient organized into colorful calendar cards. It’s convenient, easy-to-use and, most importantly, proven effective to help people maintain independence and enjoy better health.

In addition to free trials and background information, the company’s website, sortmymeds.com, offers consumers the ability to find the closest pharmacy offering the Medicine-On-Time service. There are 250 pharmacies around the country participating in the program which has been used to fill more than 50 million prescriptions. Additional pharmacies will be added as the program grows in popularity.

“This website is part of our broader efforts aimed at helping people maintain their independence and enjoy better health,” Salditch says. “We encourage consumers to ask their pharmacists if they offer Medicine-On-Time, as it will answer the age old question of, ‘Did I take my pills?’”