Thank you, Target!

I have long decried the completely esoteric world of prescriptions. The written scripts themselves are in some bizarre language. Sig? bid? Disp? How nuts. But even worse than this is the crime that pharmacies have perpetrated upon their customers. At least when I write a script, it goes to a pharmacist who has a decent chance of deciphering the thing. Most prescription bottles are written out and dispensed in just as confusing a manner as the original slip.

I am a medical doctor for goodness sake. I spent a literal 30 minutes trying to decide if "Take twice daily" was two tabs daily or bid. I ended up looking it up in ePocrates and taking it how I thought I should take it. But seriously, even I have trouble.

So, imagine my surprise when I saw the new Target pharmacy bottles. The name of the medication is written in bold on the top. The instructions are in large print and clear. There is a color-coded band for each family member. The bottles have flat surfaces so you don't have to twist and turn the bottle to read the instructions.

The bottles were designed by Deborah Adler as part of a thesis project for the School of Visual Arts, and was quickly snapped up and patented by Target. She was inspired to do this by her grandmother, who accidentally took another family member's medications.

I tell all my patients to physically bring in their medications to visits, so when one of my patients brought these in, I was stunned. They were clear, intelligible, and my patient, who previously could only identify pills by, "oh, it's the little blue one" could now tell me which one was her Plavix and which was her Lasix.

Normally, I could give a rat's ass about where my patients fill their meds. I don't think that there is any difference from one pharmacy to the next, except who offers a deal or some such. However, I am now encouraging Target for my patients who have a hard time with meds, because I think this is the greatest innovation in prescription medication since the advent of child safety bottles.

1 comment:

Demented M said...

You know, I had this idea about 4 years ago and never did anything with it. Sigh.

But I'm glad someone had better follow through than me because it really does help. I've taken to marking my bottles with sharpies so I can tell at a glance what's in what.

(Unfortunately, my drug plan requires mail order so Target is off the list. No pretty bottles for me.)