Montco firm targeting prescription drug abuse raises $1M


A Montgomery County company that has developed technology targeting the problem of accidental overdoses of prescription medication has raised $1 million in a private stock sale.

Prescription Advisory Systems and Technology of Jenkintown, Pa., recently introduced a software product called PASTRx that helps doctors treat patients with chronic pain and reduce the abuse of controlled substances.

The software is designed to help doctors identify troubling patterns in a patient’s controlled substance history. It is designed to be used to distinguish patients for whom controlled substances can safely be prescribed from those who require more complex care or additional safety considerations.

“We don’t give a thumbs up or thumbs down; we say ‘Here is a pattern that is of concern to us — like a patient who has received three different prescriptions for an opioid pain killer from three different doctors in three weeks,” said Rick Bunker, who co-founded the company with Dr. F. Stuart Leeds.

Bunker said the patient may have a valid explanation, such as being referred to a series of specialists for an injury over a short period time. The company’s software alerts doctors to potential abuse situations that warrant further examination.

Health officials said prescription drug abuse is the top cause of accidental death’s in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates 6.1 million people use prescription drugs non-medically each month.

The PASTRx software, Bunker explained, culls data from numerous sources that include the electronic health records of clients, state-run prescription drug monitoring programs and results of lab tests and urine screenings. The software also tracks where patients go to receive and fill prescriptions in relation to where they live and work to identify potential abuse issues.

Bunker, whose background is in software development and information technology, said he was motivated to start Prescription Advisory Systems and Technology after seeing friends and family members struggle with prescription drug abuse. “My co-founder is a doctors who faces it in his work every day,” he said.

To date, 50 doctors have signed up for the company’s subscription services that provides access to the technology.

Bunker said the money raised from the $1 million private equity financing will be used to support increased sales and marketing activities.

Prescription Advisory Systems and Technology raised $275,000 in a debt financing earlier this year, and is seeking to raise a total of $2.5 million in its current equity financing round, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It also received funding support from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pa.