Ever forgotten to take a prescription medication before leaving for work in the morning? Maybe even accidentally skipped a whole day of antibiotics once you started feeling better? Of course you have. No harm done, right? Don’t be so sure.
Aside from the obvious dangers of someone forgetting to take medicine they need, the Atlantic estimates that the U.S. hemorrhages $100 to $300 billion dollars from medication non-adherence, or “taking too many pills, not taking enough pills, taking the wrong pills at the wrong times.” Between wasted pills, unnecessary doctor’s visits and hospitalizations, even premature deaths, this mistake is all too common.
For decades, the answer has been those plastic pill organizers with a little box for each day of the week. No more. Companies like Vitality and PillPack are invoking a 21st century consciousness to bypass the dangers — both medical and financial — posed by medication non-adherence. And with 20 percent of American adults taking five or more prescriptions, the market is poised for an easy solution.
From Vitality comes GlowCap, a device that fits over most prescription bottles and “that lights up when it’s time to take a pill, then chirps, and finally sends a text reminder,” reports the Atlantic. Soon, Vitality also plans to release the GlowPack, which will monitor adherence for sirups, inhalers, ointments and blisters packs as well.
And PillPack wants to get rid of the current script bottle entirely. Instead of providing each medication separately, PillPack is a full-service pharmacy that arranges and mails all of your medications in single-use packets labeled for the specific time they should be taken, eliminating virtually any risk of taking too much or too little of your meds. PillPack’s CEO, T.J. Parker, isn’t shy about his product’s appeal: “We have the opportunity to make everyday tasks delightful. Even something as unsexy as taking pills,” he says.
MORE: These Pharmacists Are Making Affordable Medication for All a Reality