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Sarasota-based Firm’s Smart Design Finds Support In Congressional Opioid Crisis Legislation

SARASOTA, FL May 1, 2018—A delegation from Sarasota-based ROBRADY design found receptive audiences in Washington where it met with representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Senators Marco Rubio and Lamar Alexander, and The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime including a detailee from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to tout PILL, a smart dispenser that could be an effective tool against the opioid addiction crisis.

Last week, ROBRADY’s delegation traveled to the Capitol for three days of dialogue with government officials who stand on the front lines of the opioid addiction crisis. Their objective to increase awareness and support of PILL, a smart blister pack dispenser, was met with great enthusiasm from various top-level agencies as the device exemplifies the current thinking reflected in bipartisan legislation currently being fast-tracked through congress.

The PILL team met first with Health and Human Services to discuss how the smart dispenser’s closed-loop system addresses potential misuse or overdose by allowing access to medication only at appropriate times—as prescribed by a physician and dispensed by a pharmacist. A digital timer on the dispenser keeps patients constantly informed of the time between doses.

PILL also collects data on patient behavior during treatment which can be used to track compliance, populate the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), and be compiled with other data to identify trends among the larger population.

An idea that’s evolved over six years, the innovative PILL smart dispenser is well-timed to the government’s strategy for dealing with a crisis which now claims over 120 lives and nearly $220M on a daily basis. The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 just passed unanimously from committee containing forty bipartisan proposals including a mandate for package redesign to help prevent abuse and overdose. As explained by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. in a statement earlier this year, “We’re also actively exploring how we can use changes in packaging as a way to give providers better options for tailoring how much they prescribe to the clinical need.”

During the PILL team’s time in Washington, they also discussed collaborative possibilities with the FDA for testing PILL to gain the clearest picture yet of its efficacy as well any potential areas for refinement. Based on CDC metrics, even at 10% effectiveness, forecasts suggest that PILL’s ability to prevent deaths from overdose and addiction could mean a daily savings of over $22 million to the economy.

“Design thinking, defined as having empathy for the total context of the problem, produces genuinely innovative solutions,” explains ROBRADY CEO and Design Director Rob Brady. “The acute interest we’re seeing from Washington is validation of that—in PILL you have a product with a high potential for effectively and economically addressing the key factors in the deadly opioid addiction crisis.”

Rounding out the delegation’s three-day schedule were meetings with members of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and with representatives for Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Lamar Alexander.

Bolstered by the strong, positive reception key government agencies as well as legislation that will mandate their approach to the opioid addiction crisis, ROBRADY continues to seek strategic partners as it takes PILL into the next stages of development with the goal of production for clinical testing and, ultimately, widespread adoption.