Innovation Search

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Simply tell your invention’s story through our secure Innovation Search system. Our team reviews each idea and narrows the submissions down to the finalists, which are presented to the search sponsor.

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Poison Prevention Search: Reducing the Number of Accidental Poisonings from Medications



Monday, May 05, 2014
at 11:59PM Pacific Time.

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The deadline for this search has passed. Thank you to all who submitted ideas.

Illuminating the Issue

We are seeking new ideas to improve the design, packaging and administration of medications in an effort to reduce the number of accidental poisonings.

The Facts

  • Every 15 seconds, a Poison Control Center somewhere in the U.S. receives a call.
  • There are approximately 2 million poison exposures in the United States every year—57 percent among children under the age of six.
  • More than 41,000 people died as a result of poisoning in 2008 and more than 76 percent of those poisoning deaths were unintentional.
  • Poisoning from medication doesn’t just affect the young; it also affects elderly adults, who are more likely to require hospitalization and to die as a result as compared with younger individuals.
  • Analgesics, cardiovascular medications, COPD and asthma preparations, antidepressants and other psychotropic medications are most commonly implicated in drug poisoning fatalities in elderly Americans.
  • The primary reasons for unintentional drug poisonings in older patients include taking more than the prescribed dose, taking someone else’s medication, administering medication incorrectly and storing medication improperly.

Past innovations designed to protect against accidental drug poisonings include, but may not be limited to, child resistant bottle caps, Clear Rx and flow restrictors:

Child Resistant Caps
The first flavored children’s aspirin was produced in the 1940s as a way to make medicine more pleasing to children. The unexpected consequence of this, however, was that children were more likely to seek—and take—the medicine with no adult supervision, almost as if it were candy. During the 1940s and 1950s, aspirin poisoning constituted 25 percent of all poisonings in children. At that time, Dr. Jay Arena, a pediatrician at Duke University, led the push for drug companies to develop a childproof safety cap. While the cap has helped minimize poisonings since its inception, it is child-resistant, not child-proof.

Clear Rx
Many years later, graduate student Deborah Adler embarked on a school project to address the shortcomings of the standard round plastic pill bottles. In early 2000, she began working on “Safe Rx” by identifying the problems with traditional pill bottles, including inconsistent labeling, round shape that can render instructions difficult to read, confusing numbers and date information, oversized pharmacy logos that crowd out pertinent information, and poorly designed color combinations for warning labels.

The resulting product was a more intuitive pill bottle with an easy-to-read label, removable information card, color-coded rings that can be assigned to each person in a household and redesigned warning icons. Adler approached pharmaceutical retailers and the FDA, but Target Corporation ultimately patented and retained exclusive rights to the system, now known as “Clear Rx.” Target rolled out the new system in 2005.

Flow Restrictors
In 2007, the aforementioned Dr. Budnitz worked to try to reduce the growing numbers of children who were accidentally poisoned by pharmaceuticals. He persuaded drug makers, federal regulators and poison experts to come together on an initiative to add flow restrictors to medicine bottles, which could serve as a backup if children successfully opened a medication’s safety cap or if caregivers left medicine bottles open and unattended. These flow restrictors have not been widely adopted.


Do you have a BRIGHT new idea?

Do you have a BRIGHT new idea to help decrease the incidence of accidental poisoning from medication? If so, we want to hear it!

Your submission should be unique so that it’s protectable, although having an existing patent is not necessary. Tell us the highlights, but don’t forget the details. Simply fill out our confidential and secure online submission form. Upload images, sketches and video if possible, since this helps our evaluation team to better envision your idea. Please limit any videos to two minutes or less.

Innovators may submit ideas confidentially and securely at through Monday, May 5, 2014.

Our product development and medical review experts will review all submissions. The best and brightest may be designed, developed and licensed by Edison Nation Medical. Licensed ideas will receive a $2,500 minimum advance on 20 years percentage of sales or buyout. We split the licensing royalties 50/50 with inventors on successfully licensed products.

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The deadline for this search has passed. Thank you to all who submitted ideas.