Innovation That Matters

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FDA approves first drug embedded with a digital tracker

Work & Lifestyle

Experts believe the sensor could help boost medication compliance, but some argue the process is intrusive.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first drug in the country that is embedded with a digital ingestion tracking system. Abilify MyCite features an ingestible sensor that records the fact the medication has been consumed. The pill has been approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder, and in addition treatment for depression in adults.

The tracking system works by sending a message from the embedded sensor to a wearable patch. The patch then transmits the information to an app so patients can monitor the ingestion of the medication on their electronic devices. Patients can also approve access for caregivers and physicians to be able to see the information on a web-based portal.

Despite the pill’s capabilities, there is controversy around its approval as some argue there are issues with privacy. Some believe that doctors are going outside the professional standards of offering medication to ensuring the medication has been consumed. Others debate that those taking the pill will be aware of its qualities, and the tracking system will help doctors keep a record of the drugs taken and whether it is having the desired effect. To date, however, the pill has not yet been proven to improve a patients’ medication compliance.

Despite this being the first instance of a tracker being used within an ingestible pill, the concept itself has been used aplenty in different industries. A tracker designed to look like a sea turtle egg acts as a decoy to find poachers, and another that operates like a backpack for bees to track and research their movements are just some of the other ways the technology is being utilised. How could tracking ensure quality is maintained within your company’s operation?



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