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Smart package holds compliance solution

Incorporating an alarm clock into a prescription drug bottle seems like an idea whose time should have come long ago. It came last year, in the form of the MEMS® SmartCap(TM) from Aprex Corp., a Fremont, CA, company specializing in improved patient compliance.

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The bottle cap, injection-molded of polyphenylene oxide, fits most standard pharmaceutical bottles. In it is a microchip and digital readout. The microchip beeps to alert users when it's time to take their medicine, while the readout displays how many times the bottle was opened that day and how many hours have passed since it was last opened. This year, Aprex took the idea one step further. In its Dosing Partners program, patients place their SmartCap prescription bottles upside-down on the plat-form of a computer modem. At the end of each day, the modem automatically transmits to Aprex the patient usage information stored in the SmartCap. If patients are not in compliance, they're notified the following day by a healthcare professional. The SmartCap has a memory of 1800 events, or bottle openings. It can then be returned to the company for a new battery. It fits standard 38mm/400 thread closures. A child-resistant version fits 30-, 40- and 60-dram Screw-Loc® bottles from Owens-Illinois (Toledo, OH). At this time, the company declines to quantify costs. The program, introduced last month, targets employers, insurance companies and managed care facilities, although individuals can enroll in the program, as well. For more information, phone Aprex Corp. at 510/656-5900.

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