Big Brother is Monitoring your Adherence
What does FDA approval of a pill that tracks drug compliance mean for privacy?
Stephanie Sutton |
Patient non-compliance is a known issue, with some sources touting alarming statistics. In the US, for example, 75 percent of adults do not follow the doctor’s orders when it comes to taking medicines, and 125,000 deaths in the US alone are thought to be attributed to nonadherence (1).
The issue needs to be tackled. A variety of factors can influence whether patients take their medicine and much attention has focused on how the color, shape and size of a pill can all play a role (2). Technology is also starting to come to the fore with ingestible sensors that can track when a patient takes their medicine – and report back to health practitioners. In mid-November, the FDA approved a new dosage form of Abilify (aripiprazole; used to treat schizophrenia) (3). Each Abilify MyCite tablet contains a sensor that, when in contact with stomach fluid, sends a message to a wearable patch which in turn connects to a mobile app. Patients can track their adherence on their smartphone and, if permission is given, so can care givers, family members and physicians via a web-based portal. The pill is made by Otsuka Pharmaceutical and the sensor – no larger than a grain of sand – comes from Proteus Digital Health.
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