Cardinal Health has signed an agreement with a software company to distribute a talking pill bottle called Rex.
Using a microphone recording unit, prescription label information is recorded to the Rex bottle through microelectronic technology embedded in the base of each bottle. To play back the recorded information, users simply press a button on the side of the bottle and listen to the message.
Cardinal Health has taken up a one-year license for the product, and intends to distribute the talking pill bottle by the case and Rex recording units with microphones to retail outlets, pharmacies and hospitals.
Rex assists pharmacies in complying with stringent prescription medication regulations by having the dosage instructions and other critical information read "out-loud" to patients in addition to providing the instructions on the standard label. This audio label helps to ensure that a patient fully understands what the medication is, how often to take it and when to refill the prescription or discontinue its use.
Wizzard said it hoped the bottle would be of use in preventing medication errors, which kill an estimated 100,000 people in the US each year and are the fourth leading cause of death.
Signing up Cardinal Health is a real boost for the product, which was acquired by Wizzard, along with its originator, MedivoxRx Technologies, in April last year. The company has already won a contract for the pill bottle with the US Army, which used it to deliver medications to local people in Afghanistan, with instructions for use in their own language.
The bottle is completely self-contained and requires no readers, scanners or playback accessories for patients to use it, vital if it is to be used in remote areas.
MedivoxRx has estimated that 2 per cent of all prescriptions dispensed in the US each year go to patients who could benefit from a talking pill bottle, including the blind, illiterate people, elderly individuals with problems reading fine print and the cognitively impaired.
"Teaming with Cardinal Health provides a broad exposure for Rex in the pharmaceutical world," said Gene Franz, general manager of solutions and channels for MedivoxRx.
The companies suggest that Rex could be particularly valuable to the more than nine million people in the US who are visually-impaired, including a million who are completely blind.