(Mirror Daily, United States) – The Food and Drug Administration has given the green light to an ethically iffy pill that can signal if it reached the patient’s system. The new tech was approved for patients diagnosed with a mental disorder, but ethics experts worldwide are concerned the new tech could be used on healthy patients in totalitarian states.
The ‘trackable pill’ is equipped with a sensor that can notify a digital device on the patient’s wrist if that patient has swallowed the medication. The digital pill is expected to solve a growing problem of patients, especially those with Alzheimer’s or schizophrenics, who fail to take their daily medication.
Experts estimate that skipping medication costs states $100 billion each year in extra medical costs triggered by the fact that patients get sicker if they fail to follow treatment as prescribed.
Several experts hailed the move as it can improve public health in the case of patients that want to take the drugs but for various reasons they forget.
Under the FDA rules, patients who agree to ingest the trackable pills are required to first sign a consent form that will allow their GPs and up to four family members to be prompted when they take the pills.
They will be enabled to block the notifications at any time or remove recipients from the list if they change their mind.
New Pill Sparks Concerns
Ethics experts, however, are concerned the new tech would add extra pressure on patients to take their pills and pose many privacy concerns. One expert noted that the trackable pill could easily turn into a “coercive tool” if the patients are fully competent.
The new tech could be used by the judiciary to ensure that patients on parole or those in psychiatric wards take their meds, which could spark more ethical concerns.
The recently approved tech was first embedded in Abilify, a drug approved by the U.S. in 2002 to help treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and a depressive disorder. Many people diagnosed with these conditions fail to take medication on their own.
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