Digital timer on prescription bottles may help addicts, CEO says

PHOENIX – A digital-timer on a pill bottle may help those who are fighting prescription drug addiction, the chief executive of the company that created the tool says.

The TimerCap is essentially a timer on prescription bottles. Once someone takes the recommended dose and places the lid back on a bottle, the timer immediately starts counting up so a the user knows when it was last opened. TimerCap chief executive Larry Twersky said the timer shows unwanted openings.

“When 20 minutes can seem like two hours when you are in pain and two hours can seem like a lifetime, you gotta have a tool that helps you understand the interval isn’t getting too short,” Twersky said. He was inspired to create the device after watching his mother face an opioid addiction. “It’s the difference between guessing and knowing when you last took your prescription.”

Hanh Nguyen, a CVS pharmacy supervisor, said the timed bottles can help patients know when exactly to take their medication. “I think what leads to addiction is when the patient is taking it outside of what is prescribed.”

TimerCaps displaying the time since they were last opened. (Photo By Emily Blume/Cronkite News)

Nothing stops a patient from taking more pills than prescribed.

“This is not a solution to our addiction problem. This is a tool to help us keep track of our medications,” Nguyen said.

Twersky said he recently met in Washington D.C. with representatives of the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to discuss the TimerCap. He says the preventative packaging is something that has at least been added to their agenda and it something they are now talking about it.

The timer lids are available at CVS and RiteAid but Twersky would like to see them required on prescription medication bottles.

Twersky and his team also are developing products that lock and require a thumbprint to be opened.