Not Taken Your Medication Today? Your Doctor May Already Know...
As the world of Digital Health continues to grow and develop, the latest entrant onto the market present a whole new apex. The Japanese pharmaceutical company Otsuka has partnered with Proteus Digital Health, to develop the Abilify MyCite pill to treat schizophrenia, bi-polar and is an add-on treatment for depression.
The pill is fitted with a sensor the size of a grain of sand which is activated when it comes into contact with stomach acid. It then sends a signal to a patch the patient wears on their left rib cage which can then forward data such as the time the pill was taken onto a smartphone app. The patient’s doctor and up to four other people can then have direct access to the data generated by this sensor.
In reference to mental health conditions, it’s clear that the Abilify MyCite pill will work to combat those who struggle to adhere to their medication by recruiting others to monitor if and when they lose track. However, as the Wall Street Journal has already reported that the FDA is expecting a wave of approval requests for other pills, the questions stand around a patient’s control of their own medication.
In an era where medical devices and treatments are being interfaced with digital platforms to give patients more control over their health, opening the door to physicians and possibly even payors, could work to reverse recent efforts. Instead of enabling a patient to take control of the treatments they receive and become more educated with their conditions, digital pills that share certain data sets, could encourage payors to punish those who may miss scheduled treatments.
Whilst the value in a pill such as the Abilify MyCite is clear and may enable family members and close friends to offer a helping hand to those struggling to adhere to treatments for mental health issues, it has the potential to lead to an environment of distrust. The responsibility now lies with the FDA to make sure these treatments aren’t being used to undermine a patients role in the treatment of their own health.