In August, 2016, Simple MedsSM launched nationwide as an easy-to-use full-service pharmacy that sorts and organizes monthly patient prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and vitamins into multi-dose packets.
A press release for the Indianapolis-based pharmacy trumpeted Simple Meds’ services as an alternative to the traditional customer-pharmacy relationship. It read, “Is the end of the pill bottle near? From Viagra to Benadryl, big pharma is increasingly opting for single-dose packets and ditching the pill bottle as customers look for convenience. But what to do when you manage multiple medications?”
Customers throughout the U.S. state can call and initiate the Simple Meds service and have all their prescriptions delivered to their home. Instead of handling the transaction online, Simple Meds’ pharmacy team works with each customer to build a personal relationship, calling monthly to better monitor new medications and physicians, using a team-based approach to primary care. This medication adherence service was created by the owners of Home Instead Senior Care, a provider of in-home care services for seniors, after witnessing families routinely struggle with this process.
Simple Meds’ easy-to-open packets are labeled according to the date and time they should be taken and delivered to customers’ homes or offices each month. These pre-sorted and pre-packaged dosages are designed to help save time and eliminate confusion from the process of managing multiple medications.
“On average, our customers are taking 10 prescription medications. Before using Simple Meds, they were spending a significant amount of time sorting and coordinating,” says Simple Meds’ Vice President and Pharmacist Kyle Decker. “After calling Simple Meds, they were able to pass the sorting and coordination duties to us. Now, a 30-day, pre-sorted supply of their medications is delivered to their door at no extra fee.”
The cost of filling prescriptions through Simple Meds is comparable to most pharmacies. Simple Meds works with most insurance plans, including Medicare Part D, and monthly copays typically remain the same with no extra fees or costs.
Simple Meds says its system improves medication adherence and prevents incorrect dosing. “While often unintentional, under or overdosing can be extremely dangerous,” says Simple Meds Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer John Hogan. “From those who are looking for timesaving practices in their busy lives to those with a chronic condition such as diabetes, heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease, this is for you.”
In the following question-and-answer session, Decker discusses the process.
Healthcare Packaging (HCP): How does the ordering process work, and are orders all packaged/filled at one facility? What equipment is necessary to do this job and who supplies the equipment?
Dr. Decker: We are a full-service pharmacy licensed in all 50 states. Once an individual selects Simple Meds as their pharmacy, we work directly with their doctor(s) to verify and receive valid prescriptions. Next, our pharmacy team reviews the individual’s medication profile, and contacts his/her doctor and insurance companies if needed. Once verified, Simple Meds packages the individual’s medications into convenient multi-dose packets according to the doctor’s instructions, labeled according to the date and time they should take them. The box is then delivered, along with any other as-needed medications, inhalers, eye drops, etc., and delivered to the customer’s home or office each month. Then, our team contacts each customer monthly to answer questions and notify him/her of the next monthly delivery of their medications. In addition to the monthly contact, our team also tracks medication refills and will help coordinate between the doctor and any caregivers involved to make sure all necessary medications are on hand.
All orders are filled and packaged at our facility in Indianapolis. We use an RxASP600 robotic strip packaging machine from RxSafe. It uses individually calibrated medication cassettes and RFID chips
HCP: Who pays for this service?
The cost of filling prescriptions through Simple Meds is comparable to most pharmacies. Simple Meds works with most insurance plans, including Medicare Part D, so monthly copays can remain the same, with no extra fees or costs.
HCP: Overall, what are the different packaging components necessary for an order?
Each order contains the following:
• A complete list of all medications dispensed, including a video link to educational information about the medications
• A Simple Meds box filled with all maintenance prescription medications, vitamins and over-the-counter medications packaged according the customer’s medication profile
• As-needed medications, eye drops, inhalers, insulins, or medications that are not taken on a scheduled basis, which are packed and included in the overall delivery
Medications that require specific temperature control can also be sent from our facility and included in the shipment with other medications.
Customers can receive numerous packets per day, depending on dosage instructions from the individual’s physician. For instance, if the individual is prescribed to take a medication four times a day, there will be four packets per day.
Packets are made of thermal and cello paper and supplied by RxSafe. Each packet is 2.5 in. wide and the thickness is determined by the medications in each packet. Additionally, the packet length adjusts itself to accommodate the number of medications in each packet.
HCP: Do Simple Meds employees physically pack individual packets into an outer (or secondary) carton or is this done by machine?
Medications are packaged by machine while being closely overseen by one of our skilled pharmacists. You can view a video of this process.
The Simple Meds box is made of 20-point cardstock. The box is white and teal with black-and-white lettering making it easy to read. On each box the customer will find important information related to their medications and legal disclaimers. For instance, we provide the FDA’s number and tell the customer to keep the box out of reach of children as the packets are easy to open.
Does the outer secondary carton need to be placed in some type of mailer/shipper, which would then be a tertiary package?
These items are delivered in a corrugated box every 30 days. The box is not labeled with medications or pharmacy to deter diversion and ensure safe routing to the customer.