Call Kurtis: Granite Bay Grandma Can’t Open Kaiser’s New Pill Bottles

GRANITE BAY (CBS13) — At 80 years old, Elaine Pardee says a pill bottle design change is making it tough for her to take her blood pressure medicine. She’s worried others are having the same problem.

Pardee has been a Kaiser Permanente member for nearly six decades. She says she often brags about the care she gets. That is until her pills showed up in a bottle with a new blue safety cap. Kaiser Permanente’s new mail pharmacy caps are reversible. They arrive in childproof mode.

“Push down, and there’s a clicking sound,” said Pardee.

Once you open it, you can turn it around for non-childproof mode, which is easy to unscrew. But with Pardee’s limited strength, she says she struggles and worries about other seniors.

“Beloved ones are going to find us in the garage with a hammer in our hand, smashing that cap and having a stroke and dead,” said Pardee.

She points out Kaiser’s old safety caps, were easier to open by pushing a tab and unscrewing.

She says that when she called Kaiser to complain, she wasn’t happy with their solution.

“Knock on my neighbor’s door and ask them (for help),” she recalls them saying. She says they also told her she could go into the physical pharmacy for help, but she says at 80 years old there is a reason she does mail order medicine.

So why did Kaiser make the switch?

Kathryn Brown, Vice President Pharmacy Operations for Kaiser, says in early June, “We added an “easy open” feature to our mailed prescription bottle caps.”

Kaiser acknowledges the pill bottles arrive in child-resistant mode.

“We understand that for some members opening the child-safe cap may be inconvenient or difficult, and our pharmacy services staff are available to work with those members,” Brown said in a statement.

Pardee says more than a month after complaining; Kaiser has agreed to send her medicine with it in the easy-to-open mode.

Full Kaiser Permanente Statement:

The health, well-being and safety of our members and patients is our top priority at Kaiser Permanente.

In early June, we added an “easy open” feature to our mailed prescription bottle caps.

This cap allows closing and opening of a prescription bottle in either a child-resistant or non-child resistant mode. To open in child-resistant mode, the cap is pushed down and turned. To place the cap in non-child resistant mode, the cap is turned upside down, with the cap clearly labeled: “Caution: Not Child Resistant,” and it simply twists on and off.

For members who receive prescribed medication by mail, we ship all of our prescriptions with the cap applied in child-resistant mode, which not only prevents potential harm to children but also minimizes spillage during shipping. All mailed prescriptions also include printed instructions on how to use the new caps.

We understand that for some members opening the child-safe cap may be inconvenient or difficult, and our pharmacy services staff are available to work with those members to make sure they are able to access their medication safely. We appreciate hearing from our members and are committed to working with them to resolve any issues they may have with the new caps.

Kathryn Brown
Vice President Pharmacy Operations, Kaiser Permanente Northern California

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