U.S. Patent #8066124 – Single-Use Disposable Pill Counting Device
• Only used each time after prescription is filled
• Only used once and then discarded
• A niche’ product, pennies a piece
• Ensures patient safety by ensuring medications are free from contamination
• Easy to manufacture using mold and die technology
• Can be manufactured in volume at a low cost
• The used product is recyclable, thus eliminating landfill waste
• A Green product
Among many things, pharmacies supply medication – when dispensed in pill form, medicine is stored in vials for patient pick-up. After doctor appointments, some patients experience such discomfort that they immediately take their medication after picking up the prescription. The only concern of the patient under these circumstances is that the medication will provide some relief from the pain that they suffer or cure the ailment. However, in reality cross-contamination can amplify pain rather than alleviate it.
Debris, powder, loose pills, and broken capsules – the very real possibility of medication cross-contamination during pill counting is becoming an increasing safety concern. Manufacturers of semi-automated and fully automated counting technology (used in many retail and most hospital pharmacies) say they consider cross-contamination a major issue.
The process is constantly repeated again and again, with pharmacy technicians using the same tray and spatula for handling multiple prescriptions. For most drugs there is no attempt to prevent possible contamination of the next patient’s medication by the medication of the previous patient. Some patients may be allergic to some medications, and it’s possible for that patient’s medication to become contaminated with previous counted drugs.
* Drug Topics Article. Disposable pill-counter device eliminates contamination. Nov 20, 2006.
This process is unsettling because residue can remain on a counting tray as pharmacists move from filling one prescription to the next. The degree to which cross-contamination from counting trays causes medical problems – is unknown. However, some drugs – especially penicillin, sulfa and oncology-related agents, can pose a potential cross-contamination health risk.
The threat from penicillin and sulfa is allergic reactions but for chemotherapy drugs it is toxicity. Anyone who opens a pill bottle can see the residue at the bottom. But we don’t really know how big a health problem this poses.
* U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Evaluation of Pharmaceutical Dust Exposures at an Outpatient Pharmacy. Report No. 2010-0078-3177, April 2013.
Laboratory tests using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) 3 Mass Spectrometry will analyze data. HPLC can and will detect the contaminants on counting trays and spatulas. The tests are able to identify various drug contaminants present in the samples collected.
* October 22, 2009. Presentation, David S. Alburty, Pamela S. Murowchick and Ann K. Packingham, 28th Annual Conference of the American Association for Aerosol Research. https://www.scriptpro.com/Services/Studies/Pill-Dust-Studies/
State-of-the-art Revolutionary Tabletop Automation: Eyecon® Machine Vision https://www.eyeconvpc.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1 is a camera mounted device located above the counting tray. This instrument captures photo images that show and detect contaminants as pharmacists move one prescription to the next, which allows the process to be safely repeated using the same tray and spatula.
Other than expensive, bulky and time-consuming devices such as the Eyecon Machine Vision device (described above), DISPOZ-A-TRAY is the most affordable, easy to use and efficient solution to the serious potential health hazards caused by the repeated use of traditional pill counting trays and spatulas.
By using this single-use disposable pill counting device to fill prescriptions, cross-contamination is eliminated and patient safety is maximized.