The annual competition for the Compliance Package of the Year, held by the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council (www.hcpconline.org) witnessed a strong showing by MeadWestvaco (Richmond, VA) with the winning entry as well as the second runner-up. Information Mediary (Ottowa) was the first runner-up, with a compliance package designed for a clinical trial that features electronic interactivity.
The winning design, branded as the Avive multiple-medication patient adherence solution, isn’t meant to be used by pharma packagers, but rather in the central fill operations of chain pharmacies and drug distributors. The core of the product, according to Tom Grinnan, MWV senior director, is an IT system that helps a pharmacist match the collection of meds a patient is receiving with the schedule for taking those meds, packaged into a 30-day course of therapy. The dosages are packed into pouches (up to four oral-solid meds per pouch), and the pouches marked (both with instructions and with symbology) to guide the patient in the appropriate regimen. At the end of the 30-day therapy, the meds are refilled (or adjusted per doctor’s instruction) and a new 30-day course begins.
The pouches—a continuous, cellophane-type strip—are produced in pharmacy automation systems that can handle pouches (rather than pill bottles); these are available from several manufacturers that MWV worked with, says Grinnan. MWV provides the software, the carton and the pouches, along with training for pharmacists and central-fill operators. “Any part of the healthcare system, including manufacturers, pharmacies and health systems, concerned with patient wellness programs and medication adherence will be interested in this technology,” he says. “Wellness is the tide that will raise all ships in healthcare.”
MWV has worked with a local pharmacy, LTCPCMS, to commercialize the technology with pharmacies. Its ideal application is for senior patients who tend to have multiple meds to take daily—by providing the meds in pouches labeled with the specific day and time of administration, patients can more easily follow their regimens. Grinnan says that MWV, which has a comprehensive patient-adherence advisory program, worked closely with pharmacies to essentially turn multiple prescriptions into one delivery package. “The healthcare system is geared toward writing individual prescriptions; there are many issues of administration and adjudication to work through which we have automated,” he says.
MWV’s second runner-up award was for an implementation of its Dosepak carton for the titration sample package of Eli Lilly’s Strattera (atomoxetine), an attention-deficit disorder treatment. The package features a color-coded, calendared dosing format and enclosed patient-education materials. AndersonBrecon (Rockford, IL) handled the manufacturing.
Information Mediary’s Med-ic 21 multi-med pharmacy seal pack has been developed for a clinical trial of a hepatitis-C therapy. The package is a folder with a blister card containing the meds on one side, and an enclosed metallic grid. On the other side of the folder is the company’s “electronic content monitor” (ECM), an RFID chip that can sense when a blister has been opened. That information can be transmitted, via an Android cellphone or a near-field communication (NFC) device that communicates with a web service. (Alternately, the package is returned to a pharmacy and read there.) Overall, the packaging can help maintain a clinical trial through completion, or more closely match outcome with adherence in a post-approval trial.