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PRESCRIPTION DRUG CONTAINERS: They are not secure against simple attacks

Four major brands of prescription drug containers: none are secure

Introduction from Security Labs: Prescription drug containers

Prescription drug containers are supposed to prevent or deter unauthorized access to medication, especially by children. Our lab analyzed four of the leading manufacturers of these containers and found that all of them could be opened, often in seconds, with little skill and no special tools. See the accompanying article on Forbes

The four brands we tested are made by LOCKMED, SAFER LOCK, VAULTZ, and PILL POD. We produced videos for each brand, showing the ease with which they could be compromised.


LockMed containers, as presently configured, can be opened in seconds with essentially no skill

One of the manufacturers is LOCKMED. These containers were developed by a pain management physician in Pittsburgh out of concern for the non-secure ways that drugs that he prescribed were being handled and stored by his patients. I interviewed Dr. Bud Lateef at length about the problem of prescription drug abuse and why it is such a complex problem. Watch the video of my interview with Dr. Lateef Dr. Bud Lateef interview with Marc Weber Tobias

We tested several containers produced by LOCKMED. All of them could be easily opened in seconds and are not secure. When we provided the video to Dr. Lateef, he stated that his company would stop selling the products until they were made secure.
LockMed containers can be easily opened in seconds


Safer Locks can be easily compromised in four different ways

This company produces a series of pill bottles and related containers that employ a specially-designed cap with a four-digit combination lock. While it is a good idea, it is not secure. We determined four different ways to compromise this lock, including with the introduction of sugar through the spaces between the combination wheels. I interviewed the CEO of the company about the design failures. They indicated certain fixes were being implemented, including moisture sensing tags to determine if water was utilized to clear the sugar from the lock. Unfortunately that does not solve the problem with their fundamental designs.

They should not be relied upon for any real measure of security.

Watch the detailed video. Safer Lock containers can be easily opened in four different ways

Watch the video that shows how to open the Safer Lock by introducing sugar into the combination lock. Opening Safer Lock with sugar


Vaultz containers look secure, but they are not and can be easily compromised.

Vaultz produces several different containers, all with essentially the same design. Because they rely on a cheap combination lock for their primary security, they are not secure and can be compromised easily.

Watch the video. Opening Vaultz drug security containers


Pill Pod containers are well made but can be easily opened by manipulation

This container was developed by an engineer that has significant experience in lock design in the U.S. and Europe. The container is well-constructed, but can be compromised if you know “the secret” of how it works. It is provided with a fixed combination, but the numbers can be relatively easily decoded once the mechanical design is understood. In our opinion, this container is the “best of the worst.” For small kids and many adults, it is probably secure enough. However, in our view it is probably not secure to keep teenagers from accessing the contents.


None of the containers we examined are secure. So the question is: what is enough security, and are these better than nothing? If you are a parent and concerned with knowing that your meds had been improperly accessed, then none of these containers will provide the answer. If you just want a deterrent to very young kids or adults who may not have the capability to figure things out, then they are ok.

The bottom line: they are not drug safes. They are cheap boxes with even cheaper and inferior locking mechanisms.

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