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Preventing prescription drug abuse using hardware and technology

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has one of the highest rates of opioid overdose deaths in the United States, primarily resulting from prescription pain medicine and heroin. This is a festering yet growing issue throughout the nation with no foreseeable end in sight despite repeated efforts by the government to deploy various solutions such as prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP).

Doctors who prescribe addictive medication and pharmacists who dispense them are well educated with good intentions. While augmented physician and pharmacist education may be useful, it has historically proven minimally effective in addressing the larger problem. Further, control is lost once highly addictive medication leaves the pharmacy. Over 50% of non-medically used prescription drugs are obtained for free from a friend or family member.

MedControl Technologies has developed a secure, portable, technology-enabled medication dispenser that would replace the standard pill bottle.  Medication is locked in the device by an authorized user – such as a pharmacist – and enrolled with the patient’s fingerprints prior to dispensing. After the prescription is filled, the device will not allow the user to access medicine unless they have reached their regularly prescribed time interval, at which point they must scan a fingerprint to receive a single dose. If they go to the extent to break it open, tamper switches can detect it and wirelessly transmit this information to interested parties.

More broadly, wireless connectivity allows the device to track medication use after it leaves the pharmacy including when and where it’s being used, which can allow for trend detection and pre-emptive intervention.

The onset of abuse can happen to anyone. Our device moderates patient behavior through physical mechanisms to prevent this. PDMPs and other services retrospectively treat the disease and its symptoms rather than prevent it altogether. Granted, this is a complicated, multifaceted problem, but our solution can help preventatively address it rather than try to mitigate it after the fact.


Oct 04 2016

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