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Customized meds packaging eliminates confusion
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

January 02. 2013 11:00AM
Connie Popma of Brandon takes numerous medications – daily.

The multiple doses – required at different times throughout the day – can sometimes be confusing, she admits.

So Popma turned to a local pharmacist, Tom Wullstein, owner of Brandon Health Mart Pharmacy, to eliminate the confusion of taking her prescribed medications on schedule.

Fortunately Wullstein had an answer for Popma: Dispill, a patented multi-dose packaging system that is customized for each client.

“Before I had to keep track of what I had to take and when I had to take it,” Popma said. “And at the end of the day, I never knew if I had taken everything I needed to.”

Shortly after Wullstein had opened his Brandon pharmacy, he said another customer asked if he could set up med boxes for her daughter, who takes an assortment of medications. But Wullstein couldn’t meet that request because medications need to be labeled, he said.

So he began researching ways to address the customer’s need, and in the process, discovered the customized medication packaging system, Dispill.

“As soon as I saw it, I said, ‘Yes, this is exactly what I wanted,’ ” he recalled. “The more I looked into it, the more I was impressed by it.”

Popma was impressed by it as well.

“I wanted to give it a try because I was so tired of counting pills,” she said. “There’s no thinking. There’s no counting. Nothing. It’s just a one-step process.”

In addition to Popma, Wullstein said he’s set his own family members up on the system, including his parents, grandmother and sister. “They think it’s great,” he said.

Each Dispill blister pack contains 28 individual blisters that hold prescribed medication(s) for a specific time (morning, noon, night, bedtime) and the date they are to be taken. The blisters are detachable, which makes them portable as well.

“It’s great for the patients taking medications,” Wullstein said. “It almost forces them to take it at the right time.”

Wullstein said the customized packaging isn’t for the person who takes one or two pills a day; it’s intended more the person who takes multiple medications.

Popma said the customized medication packaging has helped her to keep track of her medications. “Before it was watch the date on this one or that one,” she said. Now, she picks up a two-week or one-month supply of her medications at the pharmacy.

Because custom packaging is more time consuming for pharmacists, Wullstein said it could be difficult for larger pharmacies to incorporate the service into their workflow.

“At the same time, I wish every pharmacy was doing it because it’s so great for the patient,” he said.
Wullstein charges a $15 per month fee for the packaging service, but said he doesn’t want the fee to be a deterrent for anyone who could benefit from it. Insurance does not cover the fee, he added.

To Wullstein’s knowledge, he is the only area pharmacy offering the Dispill packaging system.

“This has turned out to be the best solution there is,” Popma said. “It’s a wonderful thing for anybody who’s taking quite a few prescriptions.”

Brandon Health Mart Pharmacist Tom Wullstein loads a 28-day supply of prescribed medication into the Dispill blister pack for a customer last wek. The prepackaged medication system makes it easy for people to take their medications at a specific time (morning, noon, evening, bedtime). Photo by Jill Meier

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