UD Labels

In 1984, shortly after the pharmacy received a new IBM-PC XT with a green screen monitor and a dot matrix printer, I wrote my first practical pharmacy program: UD Labels.

In those days unit-dose packaging was a time-consuming and messy affair as the labels were printed with a mimeograph machine. It utilized stencils which were typed up on an IBM typewriter with the ribbon removed. The stencils were small and it was nearly impossible to line them up on the typewriter roller.

Before printing the roller had to be inked. Then, depending on how well it was inked, the first run of labels was either too faint or smeared with excess ink. After trial and error, eventually you were able to print labels that were somewhat legible.

The labels were pushed into the printing area with a mechanical arm, and often jammed or misaligned within the loud and complicated Rube Goldberg contraption. If you only needed a few pills for a rarely used drug, the machine was overkill. To save time, we dispensed a few pills into a prescription vial with a typed label. Any remaining pills had to be discarded.

It came to me one day while printing a report from the PC and watching (listening) to that ridiculous packaging machine chug away at labels, that a computer printer would be much easier, and would produce labels that could be easily read.

It took me about 2 days to write a simple little program in IBM BASIC, and it worked like a charm. My regional manager Russ Collins came by for a visit a few weeks later and I showed him what I’d developed. Shortly thereafter I was getting requests from other DOPS in our region for a copy of the program. And thus, my little software publishing enterprise began.

I’ve made countless improvements to the program in the thirty years since. The latest version is secure, has full database capabilities, and has the ability to print bar codes in any format.

A few software companies have since copied my idea, and charge a ridiculous price for their intellectual thievery. Even my current employer was duped into buying one of these ridiculously over-priced and impractical pieces of crapware. I was off one week then came back to find that all traces of my program were erased, they even erased all the old data. I was not advised or consulted. Blatant disrespect that I will certainly never forget.

Which brings us to 2014, thirty years after my brainstorm, UD labels has become the most popular RxKinetics PC software. Karma.

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