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Publication numberUS20030070394 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/981,462
Publication dateApr 17, 2003
Filing dateOct 17, 2001
Priority dateOct 17, 2001
Publication number09981462, 981462, US 2003/0070394 A1, US 2003/070394 A1, US 20030070394 A1, US 20030070394A1, US 2003070394 A1, US 2003070394A1, US-A1-20030070394, US-A1-2003070394, US2003/0070394A1, US2003/070394A1, US20030070394 A1, US20030070394A1, US2003070394 A1, US2003070394A1
InventorsRon Rosenbaum
Original AssigneeRon Rosenbaum
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Systems and methods for quickly and accurately printing pharmaceutical product package labels
US 20030070394 A1
Abstract
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, automated pharmaceutical product packaging systems and methods ensure that a pharmaceutical product package label accurately reflects the contents of the product package. During the packaging process coding techniques are utilized, wherein prior to or immediately after automatically filling a particular pharmaceutical product package with selected pharmaceuticals as specified in a patient prescription, the packaging systems and methods employ a specific code identifier or designator associated with the package to be filled that is recognized by the system. The system maintains information that correlates the identifying code with the particular prescription that is filled into the package. The pharmaceutical product package is preferably automatically filled with the desired specified pharmaceutical products. Subsequently, during the packaging label printing process the product package code or designator is again scanned by the system and a label is thereafter generated that corresponds to the pharmaceutical contained in the package based on the identifying code. The printed label therefore accurately reflects the actual contents of the pharmaceutical product package.
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Claims(10)
We claim:
1. A method for printing a product package label comprising the steps of:
receiving information in a system which identifies a product package based on package identifying information on the package;
filling the product package with specified products;
storing information which indicates a correlation between the package identifying information and the specified products contained in the package;
entering product package identifying information into a label printing mechanism; and
printing a product package label based on the correlation between the package identifying information and the specified products contained in the package.
2. The method for printing a product package label of claim 1, wherein the step of receiving information comprises a step of scanning a bar-code printed on the product package.
3. The method for printing a product package label of claim 1, wherein the step of receiving information comprises a step of reading an alphanumeric identifier printed on the product package with an OCR system.
4. The method for printing a product package label of claim 1, wherein the step of entering product package identifying information comprises a step of scanning a bar-code printed on the product package.
5. The method for printing a product package label of claim 1, wherein the step of entering product package identifying information comprises a step of reading an alphanumeric identifier printed on the product package with an OCR system.
6. A system for printing a product package label comprising:
a means for receiving information in a packaging system which identifies a product package based on package identifying information on the package;
a means for filling the product package with specified products;
a means for storing information which indicates a correlation between the package identifying information and the specified products contained in the package;
a means for entering product package identifying information into a label printing mechanism; and
a means for printing a product package label based on the correlation between the package identifying information and the specified products contained in the package.
7. The system for printing a product package label of claim 6, wherein the means for receiving information comprises a bar-code scanner.
8. The system for printing a product package label of claim 6, wherein the means for receiving information is further comprised of an OCR system.
9. The system for printing a product package label of claim 6, wherein the means for entering product package identifying information is further comprised of a barcode scanner.
10. The system for printing a product package label of claim 6, wherein the means for entering product package identifying information is further comprised of an OCR system.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to the field of automated pharmaceutical product packaging methods and machinery. More specifically, the present invention is directed to automated pharmaceutical product packaging systems and methods which ensure that a pharmaceutical product package label accurately reflects the contents of the product package.

[0003] In accordance with a preferred exemplary embodiment of the present invention, product package coding techniques are utilized such that prior to or after automatically filling a particular pharmaceutical product package with selected pharmaceuticals as specified in a patient prescription, the packaging systems and methods employ a specific code identifier or designator located on the packaging material that is recognized by the system. The system then creates an association or correlation between the identifying code and the particular prescription that is filled into the package. The pharmaceutical product package is then preferably automatically filled with the desired specified pharmaceutical products.

[0004] Subsequently, during the packaging label printing process the product package code or designator is again scanned or otherwise recognized by the system and a label is thereafter generated that corresponds to the pharmaceutical contained in the package based on the identifying code. The printed label that is directly placed on the package therefore accurately reflects the actual contents of the pharmaceutical product package.

[0005] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0006] Currently, in the field of pharmaceutical product packaging it is not uncommon for large filling machines to fill a plurality of individual dosing packets of an overall pharmaceutical product package with one or more prescribed pharmaceuticals for a patient. In the typical conventional packaging systems, a product package is comprised of a plurality of individual dosage packets. Usually the individual dosing packets are arranged in a three or four by seven matrix within the overall package. This configuration is a simple way in which to provide three or four daily doses than of multiple medications for a given week.

[0007] In this conventional configuration, each of the dosage packets contains one or more prescribed doses of a particular pharmaceutical. Typically the dosage packets are arranged on a card and the card of dosage packets is filled with an automated filling machine that selectively places one or more prescribed doses of pharmaceuticals in each of the individual dosage packets within the overall package. In the conventional systems and methods for filling these packages, once the medications have been inserted into the dosage packets, the overall package is further processed and a label is subsequently generated which identifies the specific medications contained in the package. Once the label has been printed it is placed on the product package so that users may readily identify the contents of the package. Alternatively, the label may be printed directly on the overall product package

[0008] One of the shortcomings of the existing typical conventional packaging process is that the machines and the overall packaging process occasionally must be interrupted due to a malfunction of the packaging machinery or for some other reason. The packaging process is then restarted at some future point in time. Unfortunately, these interruptions sometimes result in a failure to accurately print a product package contents label that corresponds with the pharmaceutical product package. This is typically due to the fact that some confusion arises as to which pharmaceutical products have been inserted into the packaging material when interruptions occur.

[0009] The failure to provide a pharmaceutical product package label that accurately reflects the contents of the product package can have devastating consequences. Some patients may receive inadequate doses of desired medications. Others may receive inappropriate medications that can exacerbate the underlying condition for which the patient is being treated. These errors can result in patient illnesses or death.

[0010] The existing machines and the typical conventional process for filling pharmaceutical product packages provides inadequate safeguards for ensuring that a pharmaceutical product package label accurately reflects the contents of the pharmaceutical package. Accordingly, there remains a need in the field for improved automated pharmaceutical product packaging systems and methods which ensure that the product package label accurately reflects the contents of the package. One object and advantage of the present invention is to provide an automated pharmaceutical product package system and method that is not susceptible to inaccurate labeling of the resultant product package. Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent in light of the following Summary and Detailed Description of the Presently Preferred Embodiments.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] The present invention is directed to systems and methods for automatically filling pharmaceutical product packages with prescribed medications at the specified doses and for quickly and accurately ensuring that the correct label is associated with a particular pharmaceutical product package. In accordance with a preferred exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the automated machinery includes a computer code scanner that scans a code or identifier associated with a particular pharmaceutical product package to be filled.

[0012] In accordance with a preferred exemplary embodiment of the present invention, this computer code scanner is a bar-code scanner which scans a package identifying code on a product package to be filled with prescribed medications, vitamins or pharmaceuticals. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that codes, identifiers or designators other than bar-codes may be utilized by the overall packaging systems in order to uniquely identify the package. For example, alphanumeric or numeric codes may be utilized in conjunction with OCR scanning in order to automatically recognize a unique package identifier. Alternatively, a system operator may simply enter in a designated code or other identifier associated with the particular package to be filled.

[0013] The system then generates an association or correlation between the identifier or code associated with the package and a particular a patient prescription that is to be filled by the machine. The machine then automatically fills the prescribed medications and doses into the individual dosage package of the overall pharmaceutical product package.

[0014] Thereafter, subsequent to filling the individual dosage packages with the prescribed product, the system uses the association or correlation between the package code or identifier and the patient prescription that was previously filled into the product package in order to generate the appropriate package label. This is accomplished by reading the package designating code or identifier prior to printing the label for the package. After this code or identifier has been read, the system uses the correlation between the package designator and the patient prescription in order to generate the label. As a result, it is impossible to inadvertently mislabel the pharmaceutical product package. Only the specific label associated with the particular prescription can be printed on the product package due to the unique correspondence between the identifying code or package designator and the patient prescription that was deposited into the product package. The systems and methods of the present invention provide a means for quickly and accurately generating the label for a pharmaceutical product package that is filled via an automatic filling process.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015]FIG. 1 is a block system diagram that illustrates a first exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0016] A first exemplary embodiment of the present invention is shown generally at 10 in FIG. 1. In accordance with the preferred exemplary embodiment of the present invention, an automated solid pharmaceutical product package filling station 12 preferably includes code scanning mechanism 14. As noted above, in accordance with the preferred exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the code scanning mechanism is desirably a bar-code scanner that recognizes a bar-code package designator either on or otherwise associated with a pharmaceutical product package. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that other scanning mechanism may be utilized as well for reading a code or package designator associated with a pharmaceutical product package to be filled by the automated filling station 12. In particular, it is important to note that a code scanner such as OCR alphanumeric recognition systems or even data entry by a system operator may be utilized in order to receive a package designator into the system that may be used to create an association between a patient prescription and the particular package to be filled.

[0017] In accordance with the preferred exemplary embodiment, the code scanner is a bar-code mechanism for scanning a bar-code, associated with the product package. The bar-code is preferably printed on the product package to be filled with a desired a patient prescription. In accordance with the preferred exemplary embodiment, once the package code, designator or identifier is recognized by the system, the automated filling machine thereafter fills individual compartments for dosage packets of the overall pharmaceutical product package with the specified and medications and doses as set forth in a patient prescription. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the system may create the association between the package identifier or designator immediately after the package has been filled, however, it is preferred that the system recognize the package identifier or designator prior to filling the patient prescription into the overall product package.

[0018] During further processing of the pharmaceutical product package, it is necessary for a label to be generated which identifies the contents of the product package. In accordance with the preferred exemplary embodiment of the system, an automated printing station 18 includes a further scanner 20 that is used to identify the product package code or designator. In the preferred exemplary embodiment, this further scanner is also a bar-code reader. However, as noted above, other scanning mechanisms are similarly suitable for identifying the product package. It should be recognized that a single scanner may be utilized at both the filling station and the printing station. In an alternate configuration, the single scanner may be in wireless communication with the system. Thereafter at a subsequent step the label printing mechanism generates a label that is associated with the prescription that has been filled into the particular product package. The system insures that the appropriate label is printed for the pharmaceutical product package. In order to prevent any inaccuracy, the system recalls the particular prescription information for printing of the label based on the unique relationship between the original product package code identifier or designator on the product package. The appropriate label is then automatically generated that accurately reflects the prescription contained within the product package.

[0019] Those skilled in the art will recognize that the correlation or associative between the product package designator or identification code and the prescription may be stored by the system in the database, linked list, or other memory association which identifies this correlation.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7900819Nov 30, 2009Mar 8, 2011Silverbrook Research Pty LtdProduct packaging authentication
US7905401Jan 25, 2005Mar 15, 2011Silverbrook Research Pty LtdPharmaceutical product tracking
US7946421Apr 27, 2007May 24, 2011Walgreen Co.Serially connected packets with end indicator
US7946487Apr 30, 2009May 24, 2011Silverbrook Research Pty LtdAuthentication of pharmaceutical products
US7962349Feb 23, 2010Jun 14, 2011Silverbrook Research Pty LtdMethod of dispensing a pharmaceutical product
US7980467Mar 26, 2008Jul 19, 2011Silverbrook Research Pty LtdAuthentication method for pharmaceutical products having symmetrically coded packaging
US8111431 *Sep 28, 2007Feb 7, 2012Silverbrook Research Pty LtdPrinter for printing packaging
US8152072Nov 18, 2008Apr 10, 2012Silverbrook Research Pty LtdComputer system with wireless pen and relay pairing
US8285561May 17, 2011Oct 9, 2012Silverbrook Research Pty LtdMethod of dispensing a product
US8286222Mar 26, 2008Oct 9, 2012Silverbrook Research Pty LtdAuthentication method for pharmaceutical products having coded packaging
US20050082376 *Dec 2, 2004Apr 21, 2005Allen LubowMethod and apparatus for applying bar code information to products during production
US20050121528 *Dec 17, 2002Jun 9, 2005Allen LubowDouble-sided bar code doubling as a single bar code
US20050131733 *Apr 17, 2003Jun 16, 2005Allen LubowSealable individual bar coded packets
US20050261935 *Jan 25, 2005Nov 24, 2005Kia SilverbrookPharmaceutical product tracking
US20050261937 *Jan 25, 2005Nov 24, 2005Kia SilverbrookPharmaceutical procuct packaging
DE102010042165A1 *Oct 7, 2010Apr 12, 2012Krones AktiengesellschaftVerfahren zum Behandeln wenigstens eines Behälters in einer Behälterbehandlungsanlage
DE102011110620B3 *Aug 16, 2011Jan 17, 2013DüRR DENTAL AGMethod for producing sterile foil pouches for storing patient-specific medicines, involves marking parameter of closure by reading of identification information, closing casing and sterilizing closed casing and articles
WO2010040415A1 *Oct 10, 2008Apr 15, 2010Oi Europe SàrlMethod for authenticating a product in a container, and associated method for verifying the authenticity of the product and its container
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/411, 53/131.4
International ClassificationB65B61/02, B41J3/407
Cooperative ClassificationB65B61/025, B41J3/4075
European ClassificationB65B61/02B, B41J3/407L
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 29, 1998ASAssignment
Owner name: MURDOCH UNIVERSITY, AUSTRALIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MORGAN, UNA;THOMPSON, RICHARD CHRISTOPHER ANDREW;REEL/FRAME:009555/0371
Effective date: 19980220
Mar 20, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS INC., FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ROSENBAUM, RON;REEL/FRAME:012705/0732
Effective date: 20020211
Jul 19, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: LASALLE BUSINESS CREDIT, INC., PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:013081/0843
Effective date: 20020626
Jul 22, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: EUREKA I, L.P., PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:013110/0521
Effective date: 20020626
Aug 17, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS, INC., FLORIDA
Free format text: RELEASE OF SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:EUREKA I, L.P.;REEL/FRAME:014990/0633
Effective date: 20040802
Jun 17, 2011ASAssignment
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS SUCCESSOR BY MERGER TO LASALLE BUSINESSCREDIT, INC.;REEL/FRAME:026452/0437
Owner name: MTS MEDICATION TECHNOLOGIES, INC. (FORMERLY KNOWN
Effective date: 20110616