Prepackaged drugs customized for patient

Some pharmacies are employing a new technique for delivering drug doses that are customized for each patient: doses of multiple drugs in trays for morning or evening, all prepared by the pharmacist.

Designed to appeal to elderly customers who may find it difficult to remember which drugs to take when, the system is now a tool for independent pharmacies catering to customers in assisted-living facilities. When all of a patient’s drugs are filled at one of these pharmacies, the pharmacist will create daily drug regimens customized for the patient and delivered in trays, color-coded so the patient will understand whether it’s for morning or evening dosage.

One such pharmacy is Brisson, which operates out of a converted bank branch in New Bedford, MA. The pharmacy uses a system called Medicine-on-Time that uses computers, special printers, and labels for the trays. The system—and others like it—are responding to the need for a higher level of service to patients who may now be taking as many as 10 to 12 prescription drugs each day.

“This takes a lot of anxiety out of things,” says Richard Brisson, an independent pharmacist. “We want to make their lives a little bit simpler.”

The system programming helps the pharmacists to understand potential drug interactions, while the tray system is designed to increase compliance on the part of patients. To the patient, the use of the system involves a $12/month fee at Brisson, over and above the cost of the drugs themselves. The company, one of several that creates prepackaged drug doses, says it serves about 100ꯠ patients across the country.

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