A pharmacist-programmable medication prompting system includes a programmable prompting device that is attached to a medication container and is automatically programmed in response to inputting of a physician's prescription instructions to cause the prompting device to automatically prompt a patient to take medication at prescribed times. The programming station inputs the information in serial format to the prompting device, which stores it in an internal memory. Internal clock circuitry of the prompting device periodically accesses the memory to determine if the patient is to be prompted at the present time and, if this is the case, generates a prompting signal. In response to the prompting signal an audible prompting sound is produced. Also, a prompting light blinks until the prompting device is reset. In one embodiment of the invention, the prompting device is incorporated into a locking cap of the medication container. A locking mechanism unlocks the cap in response to the prompting signal. After removal of the cap, resetting is automatically accomplished by replacement of the cap on the container. In another embodiment of the invention, the prompting device is adhesively attached to the medication container.