Pharma Is Betting Billions On Technology That Makes Sure Patients Take Their Drugs. Doctors Aren’t Sure That’s A Safe Gamble.
Drugmakers and other startups are creating innovative ways to address the age-old problem of patients not actually taking their medications. But reservations from doctors, hospitals, insurers, and the patients themselves stand in the way of a big payday for the companies.
The Washington Post:
Did You Take Your Medicine? Abilify MyCite Could Help Doctors Track Patients' Medication -- Or Frighten Them.
When the Food and Drug Administration approved in late 2017 a schizophrenia pill that sends a signal to a patient’s doctor when ingested, it was seen not only as a major step forward for the disease but as a new frontier of Internet-connected medicine. Patients who have schizophrenia often stop taking their medicine, triggering psychotic episodes that can have severe consequences. So the pill, a 16-year-old medication combined with a tiny microchip, would help doctors intervene before a patient went dangerously off course. (Rowland, 4/28)
In other health and technology news —
The New York Times:
Chasing Growth, A Women’s Health Start-Up Cut Corners
When Matt Cronin worked in customer service at Nurx, a San Francisco start-up that sells prescription drugs online, one of his jobs was to manage the office’s inventory of birth control pills. The pills were kept in the pockets of a shoe organizer hanging inside a closet, Mr. Cronin said. They had been shipped to Nurx customers from its partner pharmacies, but ended up at the office when they bounced back in the mail. His supervisors regularly assigned him to mail those same medications to different Nurx customers who had not received their pills, he said. (Riski, Singer and Thomas, 4/26)
The New York Times:
Virtual Reality As Therapy For Pain
I was packing up at the end of a family vacation in Florida when my back went into an excruciating spasm unrelieved by a fistful of pain medication. As my twin sons, then 8 years old, wheeled me through the airport, one of them suggested, “Mom, if you think about something else, it won’t hurt so much.” At the time, I failed to appreciate the wisdom of his advice. Now, four decades later, a sophisticated distraction technique is being used to help patients of all ages cope with pain, both acute and chronic. (Brody, 4/29)