Invented by Christopher E. Bossi, Christopher J. Vereb, Harvey E. Downey, Gerald R. Grafius, C. David Rogers, Dennis Coon, Mary Anne Papp, Emma Health Technologies Inc
The Emma Health Technologies Inc invention works as followsA medication container for administering therapeutic products in non-sequential doses to patients.” The medication carrier includes a receptacle that stores unit dose packages individually sealed in random order. This allows each unit dose package be easily accessed, and then released, in response to an automated or manual extraction. The medication carrier has a number of stalls with retaining mechanisms for holding the sealed unit dose package in the stalls up until the scheduled dosing. The unit dose package is oriented so that the identifiers can be read easily without having to remove the package from the carrier.
Background for Universal medication carrier
In the current pharmaceutical dispensing system, prescriptions can be filled either in standard 30-day or 60-day allotments. There is no way to accurately inventory pharmaceuticals, or to audit the patient’s compliance with a physician or pharmacist’s instructions. It is partly due to the fact the pharmaceuticals are dispensing in lots, and that not every pill is bar-coded and traceable.
Certain medications are packaged in a blister pack with a number of unit doses. Numerous devices have been created to help a doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or other medical staff administer unit doses in a standard blister package. U.S. Pat. No. No. 5,489 025 to Romick and U.S. Patent. No. 6,540,081 to Balz et al. These devices are examples. Romick discloses an medication dispenser with a top and bottom plate, each with a single aperture to receive the blister part of a blister package. The bottom plate is designed to be engaged with the top plate to confine the blister packs between the plates, with at least one opening in line with the blister section. Balz et al. The dispenser disclosed by Balz et al. is for dispensing unit doses of solid products contained in blister packs. The dispenser includes three components: a housing with a backplate, and a tray for dispensing. The blister pack with the product inside is placed between the housing, and the backplate. This allows the product to be dispensed from the backplate into the dispensing trays. The back plate has a puncture tab that helps to rupture the blister pack backing and dispense product.
The subject devices have a number limitations, even though they reduce the risk of error in the administration medication by arranging the blister packs in such a way that the unit doses are not able to leave the blister until the foil backing is ruptured. The devices are not designed to hold multiple medications or varying doses as part of complex treatment regimens. The existing blister pack holders organize the medicaments chronologically according to their times of administration. The existing blister pack holders do not allow for flexible dosage administration in situations such as when the patient’s regimen requires frequent dosage adjustments, or if the patient has been prescribed multiple medications to be taken at different times throughout the day, or even over several weeks or months.
Deeply, the existing designs are not suitable for patients to use in their homes, assisted living facilities, or any other environment where they do not have the support of a health care professional. The existing blister pack holders are organized chronologically according to the time of administration. They do not provide a way to remotely adjust a medication or dosage in real time in response to a sudden change in the patient’s condition. It can take several hours or even days for a patient to be able to start taking a new dosage. During this time, the patient could be confused about the correct dosage and continue taking doses in accordance with the predetermined order provided on the blister pack. The patient must also travel to the pharmacy and physician’s office every time they adjust a dose, as a new prescription is needed and blister packs are allocated. This is especially detrimental to patients with mobility issues and is one of the main reasons for non-compliance. The patient’s health often deteriorates as he/she is unable continue the course of treatment.
The existing holders are also prone to malfunction due to their complexity, which requires the assembly and manufacture of many moving parts. The conventional storage containers and containers do not allow for a quick inventory of the amount of medicine remaining in the prescription and the amount consumed by the patient.
In light of the shortcomings above, there is a requirement for a convenient storage and inventorying device for various therapeutic products or varying dosages prescribed in a complex treatment regime.
A universal medicine carrier” is designed to allow a patient or healthcare professional to store, inventory and administer sealed unit dose packs containing therapeutic products in accordance with prescribed treatment regimens. The medication carrier consists of a receptacle with a plurality stalls that can be used to retain a sealed unit dosage package. Each stall has a partial cover and sidewalls, as well as an opening. The stall also includes a retaining mechanism for holding the sealed package in the stall until the scheduled time of dosing. The medication carrier allows the identifying indicia that is imprinted by the drug manufacturer on the surface each unit dose package to be easily examined. This enables the patient or healthcare professional to conveniently and without any interruption access to an appropriate therapy.
The present invention aims to provide a medication container for non-sequentially storage of a plurality individually sealed unit dose packs containing different medications or varying dosage strength.
Another object of the invention would be to provide a medicine carrier that can be stored in multiple quantities within a container, making it easier for a user to administer or deliver medication.
Another object of the invention would be to provide a medicine carrier that allows a patient located remotely from a healthcare facility, to administer or deliver one of a number of unit dose packages, containing different medications, and/or varying doses, in any sequence, without being restricted by a predetermined order and without dislodging any other doses within the medication container.
Another object of the invention” is to provide a medicine carrier that helps comply with a complex prescription regimen where dosage amounts vary over time.
The present invention also aims to reduce medication waste, by reducing the need for patients to obtain new prescriptions in the case of dose adjustments or to dispose of doses.
The present invention also aims to provide a medication container that enables the therapeutic regimen of a patient to be monitored precisely and allows healthcare facilities to track and account accurately for each unit dose of medication at any time.
The following description will reveal other objects of the invention.
According to the present invention, an universal medication carrier 12,35 is provided that allows patients and healthcare professionals administer or deliver unit dosage packages 21 non-consecutively in accordance with prescribed treatment regimens, without being restricted by a predetermined serial delivery restriction or sequence. The medication carrier 12,35 comprises a receptacle with top and bottom surfaces, and a series stalls 11 arranged therein. Each stall is sized appropriately to accept a unit dosage package 21. Standard unit dose packaging includes a plastic bubble for containing the therapeutic product, and a seal made of paper or foil laminate to hold the product in the bubble. A bar code, radio frequency identification tag or electronic identifier 36 (collectively called?identifying indicators?) The seal 25 is imprinted onto the unit dose packaging 21. In each stall 11, the identifying indicia is oriented upwards, allowing a patient or healthcare professional to quickly view and select a unit dose therapy. The design of the carrier 12, 35 allows for each unit dose package 21, to be accessed and removed from the stall 11, in response to manual extraction or automated extraction.
The planar design of the medication carrier 12, 35 makes it easier to store, transport, and inventory products. However, other surfaces and geometries, such as curved designs or cubic shapes, may be used, depending on the medication. The medication carrier 12,35 is preferably made from thin plastic. However, metal, cardboard, or any other material that allows for the carrier to remain light, durable, and easily mouldable can be used. As shown in FIG. As shown in FIG. The medication carrier shown in FIG. The 32 stalls are arranged into four rows of 8 stalls. This arrangement allows the carrier to store medication for 30 days. It also provides extra surfaces to attach a label to the carrier.
FIGS. The figures 1a and 1c show medication carriers with 20 and 16 stalls respectively. These are sized and formed to fit larger packages of medication. The term “medication” will be understood. As used in this document, the term “medication” is meant to encompass individual doses of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and diagnostic materials, as well as prescription and nonprescription medication, both in solid and liquid dosage form. Examples include suppositories and prefilled syringes. Also, there are inhalers, liquids, gels, strips for blood tests, pills, tablets, and capsules.
Referring to FIGS. A medication carrier 12 with a unitary container is shown in Figures 4 a-4c. The medication carrier 12 has a stall 11. Each stall 11 includes a closure 13 that is generally flush against the top surface 14, sidewalls 15-18 that extend from the inside surfaces of closure 13, retaining mechanisms 19, 20 to hold the unit dose packages 21 in the stall until the scheduled dosing, and at the least a partially opened side 38, through which the unit dosage package 21 is ejected. Support ribs 23, which extend between the stalls 11 on the bottom surface 22, of the carrier, provide strength and stiffness to make the medication carrier 12 easier to handle. “Additional support ribs extend along the peripheral edges of carrier 12.
As shown in FIG. The closure 13 extends above the stall 11, enclosing the unit dose package 21, within the stall. The closure 13 surrounds the centrally located portal 37. The portal 37 allows an electronic scanner or patient to read the identifying information imprinted on seal 25 to select the correct unit dose package to be delivered, inventoried or administered. The identifying information includes an electronic code, such as a radio frequency identification tag or bar code, that identifies package contents. This may include the name of the prescription medication, the dosage strength, the lot number, the expiration date or other required information by Federal, State and International law. The seal 25 on the package 21 also has the corresponding human-readable information. “The electronic code scanner can be a barcode scanner, an optical recognition scanner, or a radio frequency identification reader, to ensure accurate tracking and inventory control as well as monitoring patient compliance.
When inserting the unit dose package 21 into the stall 11, the plastic bubble 24 that contains the medication extends to the central area, while the peripheral edges of package seal 25 extend over retaining means 19, 20, which protrude out of opposing sidewalls 15 and 17 of the stand. The retaining mechanism consists of two or more horizontal protrusions, which are in substantial alignment. They are integrally molded or otherwise formed into opposing sidewalls 15 and 17 of the stall 11. This is so that the seal of the unit dose package 25 can be confined between these protrusions and the closure 13. The unit dose package 21 will remain firmly in position until the dose has been administered to the patient. This orientation allows an electronic code or other indications imprinted on the seal 25 facing upwards of the unit dose packaging 21 to be read by the portal 37. Modifications can be made to the retaining means 19, 20, in order to accommodate different unit dose packages 21, if necessary. For example, thicker retaining means may be required for heavier medications like liquids or gels. The protrusions 19 and 20 are designed to be spaced appropriately so as not to crush the medication within the plastic bubble 24, or interfere in any other way with the insertion of unit dose package 21.
When a unit dose package is to be administered, or delivered, the pressure is applied either to the outer surface 13 of the closure of the stall 11, containing the desired dosage or to the exposed 25 surface of package seal framed in the portal 37. The package seal 25 is then pushed up against the protrusions 19 and 20. As a result of this, the edges of seal 25 bend which causes the unit dose package 21 drop out through the open side of the carrier 12. The pressure can be applied manually or automatically, as mentioned above. The ejection from the stall 11 of a fully intact unit dosage package 21 does not disturb or dislodge the other unit dosage packages in the carrier. The unit dose package can be obtained from the bottom surface of the carrier 12 simply by removing it from its stall 11 through the opening. The medication carrier 12 can be refilled with new doses when the unit dose package is depleted. This is done by inserting a new package into each stall 11 through the opening 38.
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