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A new flat, rectangular pill container may render obsolete the traditional round plastic vials and bottles used throughout the healthcare industry.
A new flat, rectangular pill container may render obsolete the traditional round plastic vials and bottles used throughout the healthcare industry. Produced by Juno Technologies LLC, San Diego, Calif., the "m-pack" will be introduced at the NACDS pharmacy technology meeting in Boston taking place at the end of August.
According to Richard Lee, a spokesman for Supply Solutions LLC, the firm marketing the new vials, the m-pack is designed to address handling and packaging problems associated with cylindrical containers. These include the difficulty some elderly and arthritic patients have opening child-resistant tops, the high expense of mailing vials and bottles that cannot be automatically processed by the U.S. Postal Service, damage to vials and bottles occurring in the parcel-mail process, and vial- and bottle-caused malfunctions of pharmacy machines.
In addition to being child-resistant and spill-proof, the m-pack is easy to open and close, without requiring the twisting and pushing motions so difficult for disabled patients. It also fits easily into a shirt pocket or purse.
In the pharmacy, the flat container fits easily into automated pharmacy machines. Also, although it will be as easy to fill as a round vial and will be competitively priced, the m-pack will take up 30% less space and will be less apt to be damaged in parcel mai1.
The m-pack is targeted to all users of oral solids - retail, mail order, central fill, and outpatient pharmacies. The container provides more than 8 inches of label space, with room for 12 point text or larger, drug image, and window to confirm the ID of the medication. Label space is 80% greater than that of a round vial, and patients do not need to rotate the container to view the text. Large text sizes are easily accommodated.
The standard m-pack holds up to 90 days' supply of most oral solids, making it suitable for mail order and central fill. Additional sizes that will soon be available include standard, mini (for hospital release and short-term dosages), and oversized.
The m-pack can be made from 100% recyclable materials and compared to round vials, 30% more flat containers can go on a truckload.
"Overall, for pharmacy, shipper, and end user," says Lee, "It's a win-win for all sides."