"Biomedical Big Brother" watching your meds


For some of us, it's easy to forget to take our prescription pills. Now, the FDA has approved a digital pill that tracks when you took it.

Pharmacies can now put the sensor in a capsule along with the medication.

Once the sensor comes into contact with stomach fluid, it sends an electrical signal of information to a cellphone app or a patch worn on the patient.

It’s not just for schizophrenia, but also patients with heart problems, stroke, HIV, diabetes, or even post-surgical and drug trials.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center's Dr. Marie Hilliard said could also benefit older people seeking independence.

“But at the same time you can see persons with perhaps nefarious goals may abuse privacy and consent,” said Hilliard. “The concern about Big Brother watching in terms of what we are actually ingesting.”

Despite signing consent forms who is allowed to receive the information--including doctors and up to four family members, there's some privacy concerns.

Baker Institute's Kirstin Matthews says so far, she’s in favor of it.

“A, I want to take this where it’s going to be checking on it. B, I’m ok with my doctor, other people looking at it,” said Matthews. “Not only are they talking about a relationship between the patient-them knowing what they did, and the doctors knowing it.”

Various companies are working on ingestible technology. The first will be available next year.

Nine health systems in six states have started prescribing it with medications for conditions including hypertension and hepatitis C.

Experts say it cost tens of billions of dollars for more treatment when people don't take their medicine.

Companies could offer financial incentives for patients.


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