In 2005, Target introduced what has been hailed as “the first significant and useful” redesign of the classic amber-colored prescription pill bottle, as health communications blogger Rick Lesaar puts it.
The celebrated red “ClearRx” design solved many common complaints with the standard plastic vials that use the old “Palm N’ Turn” cap. Target’s bottles were easier to open while remaining child-proof; they had a color ring for each member of the family to avoid confusion among medications; and perhaps most importantly, it had a clear, easy-to-read label with the text sized appropriately for aging eyes. Target touted the bottles as an avatar for its design-minded brand ethos and continued to refine its design with enhancements introduced in 2012. The Industrial Design Society of America bestowed ClearRx its “Design of the Decade” award in 2010 and the Museum of Modern Art has included it in its permanent collection.
But when Target sold its in-store pharmacy and clinic operations to CVS Pharmacy for $1.9 billion last December, CVS decided to abandon the much-loved ClearRx system. The drugstore giant decided to revert back to the old, clunky pill bottles because it was simpler to follow the existing prescription-filling procedure implemented at its 9,600 pharmacy outlets across the US, Puerto Rico, and Brazil.