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Publication numberUS3584598 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 15, 1971
Filing dateAug 19, 1968
Priority dateAug 19, 1968
Publication numberUS 3584598 A, US 3584598A, US-A-3584598, US3584598 A, US3584598A
InventorsGayle Robert, Hayes Thomas H
Original AssigneeLilly Co Eli
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pill dispenser with indicating means
US 3584598 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventors Robert Gayle;

Thomas H. Hayes, both of Indianapolis, Ind.

[21] Appl. No. 753,569

[22] Filed Aug. 19, 1968 [45] Patented June 15,1971

[73] Assignee Eli Lilly and Company Indianapolis, Ind.


[52] 11.8.0 116/121, 40/1 1 l, 1 16/133, 206/42, 221/2 {51] Int. Cl 60919/00 [50] Field ofSearch .1 116/114,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,161,685 11/1915 James 235/87 1,829,883 11/1931 Wagner et a1 .1 40/107 2,725,029 11/1955 Ammerman 116/133 3,324,996 6/1967 Jordt 206/42 3,330,060 7/1967 Duncan 40/107 3,332,575 7/1967 Pilot et al 221/8 3,397,671 8/1968 Hartman,Jr. et a1. 116/121 3,402,850 9/1968 Barton ct a1. 221/8 FOREIGN PATENTS 324,154 111930 Great Britain 40/107 104,640 6/1966 Denmark 206/42 Primary Examiner-Louis J. Capozi Attorneys- Everet F. Smith and Houston L. Swenson ABSTRACT: A pill dispenser with indicating means in the form of a cylinder having a plurality of seqnential indicia patterns which is selectively rotatable for alignment of one indicia pattern with a like pattern of pills, thereby indicating when each pill is to be taken.


SHEET 2 UF 2 INVENTORS ROBERT GA THOMAS H. HAYES ATTORNEYS PILL DISPENSER WITH INDICATING MEANS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a pill dispenser and in particular to a pill dispenser having means for automatically indicating the removal ofeach pill from the dispenser.

In writing out prescriptions it is generally the practice of physicians to state that a pill should be taken at prescribed intervals. The intervals may be only a matter of hours, or, on the other hand, may be on the basis of one per day, or perhaps one every other day. In any event, it is essential that the user be able to determine whether or not he has taken a pill for that interval since it is quite possible that his memory will fail him. Various devices have been contrived in which the user, upon taking a pill from the dispenser or container, will, in a separate physical action, record this fact. For those persons who are always able to remember to make a recording mark or other similar act, such a procedure is sufficient. However, many a person has tended to forget entering on his own personal record the fact that he has taken a pill for a specified day. Thus, he is confronted with the problem of trying to remember whether or not he actually took a pill for that interval.

Various dispensers have been designed with automatic indicating means coordinated with specially arranged pills. For example, pills have been spring loaded in tubes or disposed in a unique pattern to provide accurate coordination with an adequate indicating means. In such dispensers of the prior art it has been necessary to develop suitable equipment for efficiently and quickly loading the dispenser with pills. In addition, such equipment has had to provide means for assuring sanitation of the pills during loading of the dispenser. Furthermore, the dispenser necessarily had to be designed to easily receive the pills; and, consequently, the pills in some instances were not fully sealed from the atmosphere. Thus, the pills could be affected by moisture in the atmosphere as well as being subjected to possible contamination.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The dispenser of this invention has been designed to receive conventionally packaged pills which are individually wrapped and therefore well protected from contamination. In particular, these pills are packaged in blister packages having a foil backing or other easily tearable material and a covering formed from thin plastic material with individual recesses for the pills. Thus, no investment in new equipment is necessary to load the dispenser of this invention inasmuch as the conventional blister package of pills is simply inserted into the dispenser. The indicating means of our dispenser comprises an elongated device bearing a plurality of indicia which may be the days of the week or smaller increments such as divisions of the days into hourly periods. This indicating means is snapped into a suitable compartment in the pill dispenser which is designed to maintain the indicating means and its indicia in re gistered alignment with the pills in the blister package. The retaining means in the dispenser compartment permits manual rotation of the indicating means in order to initially align the appropriate indicia with the first pill to be taken on a designated day or hour. No additional setting of the indicating means is needed until a new supply of pills is placed in the dispenser.

Thus, it is one object of this invention to provide a new and improved pill dispenser utilizing a conventional blister package of the pills. Another object of this invention is to provide a low-cost dispenser which may be used indefinitely for periodical refills. A further object of this invention is to provide a dispenser having an indicating means to enable the patient to readily determine whether or not he has taken a pill for the prescribed interval. Other objects and advantages of this invention will be made apparent upon reading the following disclosure in conjunction with the drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the pill dispenser of this invention partially exploded to more clearly disclose the indicatmg means.

FIG. 2 is a view in cross section taken along line 22 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the dispenser.

FIG. 4 is a view in cross section taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, the dispenser of this invention is shown having a base 11 with an integrally connected cover 13. However, it is to be understood that the invention herein is not necessarily dependent on having a cover. In this illustrated embodiment base 11 and cover 13 may be formed of a suitable plastic material such as polypropylene in accordance with conventional injection molding techniques. Thus, cover 13 is hinged to base 11 by a thin web of plastic material 14 which is frequently referred to in the molding trade as a living hinge. Cover 13 may be provided with a latch element 16 which cooperates with element 17 on the base to selectively maintain the dispenser in a closed position. Both the base and cover have been tapered in order to accommodate indicating means 19. As shown in FIG. I, the indicating means in this embodiment comprises a hollow elongated multifaced member. This indicating means may be formed from plastic material by standard extrusion techniques. Inasmuch as the illustrated dispenser has been designed for assisting the patient to take one pill each day, indicating means 19 has been provided with seven surfaces 21 extending along its full length. In addition, each surface 21 has been marked off into seven equal segments 22, thereby permitting each surface 21 to carry the indicia 24, which in this instance are the seven days of the week. It is to be noted that each longitudinal row of indicia 24 arranges the days of the week in chronological order. The first day for each of these chronologically arranged indicia is different from the first day for the other longitudinally arranged indicia. This arrangement is such that the indicia as arranged in their peripheral pattern also appear in a chronological order. The seven surfaces 21 are defined by recessed lines 25 in order to permit the patient to easily rotate the indicating means once it is positioned in the dispenser.

Base ii is formed with an indicating means compartment 27 which is open on its underneath side. The top portion of the compartment is defined by an arcuate surface 29 having a reference means in the form of a longitudinal slot 30 and a stepped-down opening 32. A retaining hub 34 may be integrally molded within compartment 27 at one end. As shown in FIG. 2, retaining hub 34 has a pawl 35 with a top surface 37 and an inclined surface 38. This retaining hub is formed to permit a small amount of deflection along its arm 40.

At the opposite end from retaining hub 34 a retaining clip 42 is molded within compartment 27. This clip comprises a thin strip of plastic material which will readily deflect and yet maintain resiliency to provide a biasing effect on indicating means 19.

A plurality of pills 45 are individually wrapped in transparent blisters 46 formed from a plastic material. As shown in FIG. 4, the blisters have a paper or foil backing 48 which is easily ruptured.

In some instance it is essential that the patient take a certain type of pill for a given number of days which is then followed by a different type of pill. In this sequential type of dosage it is therefore essential that the blister package containing pills 45 is inserted into the dispenser in its proper position to provide the correct consumption of pills. Thus, the blister package is formed in this embodiment with a V-shaped cutout 50 to coincide with a corresponding V-shaped projection 51 formed in the interior of base 11. The blister package may then be inserted in the proper position and retained in base ii by two or more lugs 53. indicating means 19 is inserted into compartment 27 by first placing the right end 55 of the indicating means onto retaining clip 42. This is accomplished by angling the indicating means into compartment 27 from its underneath side. After end 55 is butted against the inner surface of the compartments end 56, the left end of the indicating means may be snapped over the retaining hub 34.

The indicating means is maintained in the dispenser in a snug fashion to avoid accidental rotation. Thus, as shown in FIG. 4, retaining clip 42 asserts a biasing effect on the inner surface of the indicating means to force it against the inner surface of end 56. The left end of the indicating means rests on the top surface 37 of the retaining hubs pawl 35 (FIG. 4).

The patient will normally receive the dispenser with the indicating means positioned in compartment 27. If the blister package containing the pills is not already inserted in base 11 the patient snaps the package therein with cutout 50 aligning with projection 51. In accordance with the prescription given the patient, he then selects the designated day of the week for taking the first pill and aligns that day with the longitudinal slot 30 at the left end of compartment 27. Rotation of the indicating means 19 may be accomplished by grasping it between the thumb and forefinger at the stepped-down portion 32 and on the underneath side. It is to be noted that slot 30 is of a predetermined width to permit the registering and viewing of only one series of seven days from the top side of compartment 27. Thus, the patient is now ready to remove the first pill. This is accomplished by pushing the pill in the upper left-hand corner of the blister package through its corresponding opening 58 in base 11. The backing 38 on the blister package is thereby ruptured and the pill will fall into the hand of the patient holding tee dispenser. In a like manner the second through seventh pills of the top row of the blister package are taken at their designated intervals. Since in this embodiment the indicia bear the seven days of the week with one pill taken each day, it is apparent that the same indicia registered with slot 30 are correct for the second and third rows of pills in the blister package. Upon taking the 21st pill, the blister package may be removed from base 11 and a new package inserted with proper rotation of the indicia with respect to the prescribed time for taking the first pill.

Although only one embodiment of this invention has been described and illustrated, it will be apparent to those with skill in the art that modifications can be made without departing from the spirit of this invention or the scope of the appended claims.

We claim:

1. A pill dispenser with indicating means comprising: a pill receiving base member, said base member supporting an indicating means housing containing an elongated indicating means with a plurality of surfaces extending along its length, each of said surfaces bearing a plurality of sequential indicia, said indicating means being hollow with open ends, a pair of retaining elements integrally formed in said indicating means housing extending into said open ends rotatably supporting said indicating means, a reference means comprising a slot in said indicating means housing in registry with said indicia in one of said surfaces of said indicating means, and a plurality of pills arranged in at least two straight rows on said base member parallel to said slot and aligned with each other and said indicia in registry with said slot.

2. A dispenser as defined in claim 1 in which one of said retaining elements is a thin strip of plastic material biased against the inner surface ofsaid hollow indicating means.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3876269 *Apr 23, 1973Apr 8, 1975Andrasko Leslie MPreprogrammed medication dispenser
US4717042 *May 28, 1986Jan 5, 1988Pyxis CorporationMedicine dispenser for home health care
US6082544 *Feb 1, 1999Jul 4, 2000Artromick International, Inc.Medicine unit dose dispensing system and method
US6615626 *Oct 17, 2001Sep 9, 2003Chun Te YuLock device having rotatable identification brand
US6652047 *Aug 9, 2001Nov 25, 2003Peter C. Maguire, Jr.Device for storing pills and indicating quantity of the pills to be taken at times specifically indicated thereon
US7220573 *Jun 21, 2002May 22, 2007Agilent Technologies, Inc.Array assay devices and methods of using the same
US20030235825 *Jun 21, 2002Dec 25, 2003Shea Lawrence R.Array assay devices and methods of using the same
US20060086638 *Oct 21, 2004Apr 27, 2006Apothecary Products, Inc.Pill fill tray and packaging system
U.S. Classification116/308, 40/111, 206/539, 221/2, 206/534
International ClassificationA61J7/04, B65D83/04, A61J1/03
Cooperative ClassificationB65D2583/0409, B65D83/0463, A61J1/035, A61J7/04
European ClassificationA61J7/04, B65D83/04C2