A machine that pops pills

A new machine that automatically extracts tablets and capsules from medication strips could bring substantial benefits to both the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacies.

The Fenn 60 Automatic Tool-free Deblistering Machine has been developed by Wright Fenn and has received investment of £86,400 from UK-based NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts).

The Surrey-based company, Wright Fenn Ltd, is a partnership between David Fenn, an inventor, and David Wright, an engineer and businessman.

The machine has been developed to satisfy the needs of pharmacies that are required to deblister medication to meet the increasing demands for Monitored Dosage System (MDS) prescriptions.

Health and safety problems, including potential repetitive strain injuries (RSI), and the costs associated with manually removing medicines from packs, are now considered sufficiently serious to warrant investment in automated deblistering.

The pharmaceutical industry will also be interested in this new product. In tests, a leading manufacturer has found the Fenn 60 machine useful in solving problems that arise when drugs need to re-packed, recycled or disposed of for any reason.

The machine uses an adhesive tape to strip the foil cover from each pill strip, allowing the tablet to drop out into a collection tray; the empty pack is ejected from the machine via an exit chute.

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