Harvard University, 2010 - $18,550

Patient non-compliance in routinely taking the medications prescribed for them costs the US $170 billion dollars yearly. The 75 million Americans considered “health illiterate” are at particular risk for prescription drug misuse: they are 3.4 times as likely to misinterpret drug warning labels, leading to greater risk of medication-related adverse events and a doubling of all-cause mortality risk. Up to 85% of prescriptions are not refilled after the initial dispensing, which translates to an annual loss of $77 billion for retail pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies.
Visual cues have not improved adherence, but auditory notifications have shown promise. However, current auditory devices are too expensive to be scalable, too hard for patients to operate, and can’t be adapted to pill bottles of varying sizes.

This team is developing the RxCap, a $1 device that installs seamlessly within existing pill bottles, provides verbal explanations of proper medication use/dosage when the bottle is opened, and reminds patients to refill their medication when the time comes.