Capsa: Your prescription, but safer.
Capsa is a nationwide effort combating prescription opioid abuse among minors via an electronically regulated pill bottle.
Official Capsa logo.
Meet the team! Pictured before a mock board meeting at the University of Michigan, June 2019. From left to right: Jai Chadha (Strategy and Finance), Aiko Ma (Branding and Marketing), Bharath Kumar (Sales and Operations). Not pictured: Tony Tao (Tech).
The product: our current CAD model of our latest prototype, featuring a funnel that feeds into a gumball machine mechanism.
Top view of current bottle CAD prototype. The design can be customized to all types of pills via an interchangeable insert.
Our competitive advantage.
Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Date You Started Your Project Started
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Start-Up (first few activities have happened)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
We focus on prescription opioid abuse among minors. The problem stems from the lack of restrictions for prescription opioids. They are prescribed to minors after anything as simple as a dental procedure or a broken arm. Prescriptions often contain more pills than necessary and come in a plastic bottle with no way to prevent medication misuse. The high abuse potential can easily lead to addiction, serving as a gateway into future substance abuse.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Our program takes active measures to prevent and restrict opioid abuse through an electronic pill bottle. The bottle, about two inches in diameter, replaces the traditional orange pill bottle to increase safety and security. The bottle dispenses medication regularly based on the prescription’s instructions. It also has a lock that will prevent any tampering with the product. We want to make sure that the accessibility of these drugs is very limited. Even the slightest obstacle in the way of someone will make them rethink their decision. However, in case of an emergency, an additional dosage can be dispensed. This sends a wireless alert to the patient’s doctor or provider, letting them know that the override feature has been used. Our product satisfies two main customer needs: a bottle that is easy to fill and use, and ensures security and safety. Our product is the first step in creating a solution to the overall problem of underage opioid abuse.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
It was January 8, 2016 when I found out that Luke had passed away due to substance overdose not twenty minutes from my home in Excelsior, Minnesota.
Luke was in high school when he was first prescribed opioids for medication use. Not long after, Luke began using heroin in 2014 and was soon addicted. After 2 years of attempting to recover and relapse, Luke eventually succumbed to the preventable disease of substance abuse, specifically addition.
It was Luke’s death by a preventable cause that prompted Capsa to take form. Capsa hopes to provide an effective solution of using an electronic pill bottle to prevent substance abuse for minors aged 13-18 so that no family, school, or community suffers the pain of the loss of their own Luke. It is our belief that through regulation of administering prescribed opioids, we can overcome the immense adversity that is opioid abuse.
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
The process begins when a doctor prescribes opioids to a minor. Our pill bottle is prescribed along with the medication. When the prescription is sent over to the pharmacy, it is filled in a Capsa bottle. The dispension intervals are set at the pharmacy according the the instructions included on the prescription. When the patient is ready, they can pick up their medication from the pharmacy, already been locked in the bottle and ready to go. The patient brings it home and takes the medication at each regular interval. If, in an emergency, the patient needs an additional dosage, there is an emergency override feature. This feature will dispense an additional dosage and alert the patient’s doctor or provider that the feature has been activated, increasing doctor-patient connectivity and serving as an emergency safeguard. By using our product, the patient is at a lower risk of addiction.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Capsa is implementing 2 main differentiating strategies compared to our competition.
First, our solution is easy to refill and excels in overdose safety. Competitors such as MedMinder and Hero provide adequate overdose safety, but little convenience in refilling the device. Capsa excels at both conditions, filling the white space in the market.
Secondly, Capsa aims to utilize the doctor-patient trust dependence to market its product. Through partnering with hospitals, doctors will recommend Capsa’s product, generating much revenue via a unique marketing avenue.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Our project is currently in the development phase, however, we have progressed immensely with this stage. Currently, we are working on filing for our provisional patent and have filed an LLC. In terms of community outreach, we have done user testing and research with over 100 people in the cities of Ann Arbor, Boston, Minnetonka, and San Jose. We have also talked to doctors and pharmacies detailing the purpose of the project as well as its effects. We’ve received positive feedback with most of the people we have interviewed, especially with the way we are approaching this issue: with a tangible product. In particular, we have talked to Lahey Hospital in Massachusetts, and we plan to have our project launch here. In terms of judging how we will make a difference. It mainly comes from the feedback of the users and user data to determine whether there is a difference in the hospital.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
After the product has passed the prototype stage, we plan to delve into more community outreach. We want to better spread our message to combat underage prescription opioid abuse. We are planning to implement a nonprofit and an educational program in high schools and middle schools throughout the country as a part of Capsa. We want to provide education about the dangers of the leading cause of accidental death in the US. In addition, we want to delve into other types of medication and broaden the scope of our mission to provide education and a solution to prevent all types of medication abuse. Ultimately, we want to serve as a bridge between doctors and patients to prevent abuse of medication.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
How did you hear about this challenge?