A Council Bluffs man is one of the first customers for a newprescription-drug label that reads itself, out loud. Omaha pharmacist Marty Feltner explains the “ScripTalk” system uses a micro-chip embedded in the label of the pill-bottle, and a hand-held device that reads it. The label looks like security stickers used by department stores to fight shoplifting, but the pharmacist explains each is encoded with the instructions for a patient taking that bottle of pills. The label looks like a normal one except there’s a microchip embedded in it, and an antenna so when you rotate the bottle over the “reader” it will pick up information from the label. The system’s been given to some patients at VA hospitals, but Dr. Feltner says Omaha-based Kohll’s drugstores were chosen to be the first retail outlet in the nationbecause of the private chain’s volume of home-care business, which includes many clients from Iowa. He says his pharmacy can process Iowa medicaid, which has a lot of clients with visual handicaps, and Feltner thinks one day Medicare and Medicaid will pay for the ScripTalk reader, though right now it’s just too new. It’s a matter of customer service, says Feltner, and of safety. He says he’s excited about offering this to the visually-impaired or those who have trouble reading prescription labels. Feltner says the biggest issue for pharmacists is patients’ compliance with instructions and he says ScripTalk will make it easier for them to handle their own medications in home-care settings. That could save money on home-care nursing as well as potential medication mistakes. The system’s not cheap: the reader costs 179-dollars, and it costs a dollar extra for each pill-bottle with a microchip in the label. Feltner says as the new system’s safety and convenience become apparent he thinks private insurance and programs like Medicare will start to pay for it.http://www.envisionamerica.com/grst1.html