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Medicine Digital Government Privacy United States Technology

FDA Approves Digital Pill That Tracks If Patients Have Ingested Their Medication (nytimes.com) 72

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a digital pill -- a medication embedded with a sensor that can tell doctors whether, and when, patients take their medicine. The approval, announced late on Monday, marks a significant advance in the growing field of digital devices designed to monitor medicine-taking and to address the expensive, longstanding problem that millions of patients do not take drugs as prescribed. Experts estimate that so-called nonadherence or noncompliance to medication costs about $100 billion a year, much of it because patients get sicker and need additional treatment or hospitalization. Patients who agree to take the digital medication, a version of the antipsychotic Abilify, can sign consent forms allowing their doctors and up to four other people, including family members, to receive electronic data showing the date and time pills are ingested. A smartphone app will let them block recipients anytime they change their mind. Although voluntary, the technology is still likely to prompt questions about privacy and whether patients might feel pressure to take medication in a form their doctors can monitor.

FDA Approves Digital Pill That Tracks If Patients Have Ingested Their Medication

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  • Doctors can tell if you've been taking your medication by checking... uh... your output.
  • Digital (Score:5, Informative)

    by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @06:29PM (#55551011)
    I think the "digital" logo on this story isn't quite what you think it's for.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      All the current Slashdot editors were born after 1998. DEC was never part of their lives.

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Inconceivable!!!

    • Re:Digital (Score:4, Informative)

      by eepok ( 545733 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @08:18PM (#55551473) Homepage
      For the youngin's: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    • by dissy ( 172727 )

      I think the "digital" logo on this story isn't quite what you think it's for.

      These pills are wired to a VAX by an RS232 cable hanging out of your butt.
      The article wanted to skim over that detail, for obvious reasons :P

      • I was thinking this could really help a lot of slashdot old-timers, except they're too Luddite to use it.

        Now I see where I was wrong, and adoption is likely to be high!

        I remember when the local library first got a computerized card catalog system; it was a bunch of dumb terminals hooked up to VAX server! It was such a huge leap into the future! We jumped straight from having to search the list of titles for each possible section hoping for one with an informative enough title to let us know it is relevant,

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I think the "digital" logo on this story isn't quite what you think it's for.

      I remember seeing it on a few things a few years ago... especially musician effects boxes. I think they called themselves Digital too...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Nurse Ratched would have loved this...

    • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @07:06PM (#55551189)

      Nurse Google will love this: yet another set of really personal data to be mined and exploited for new and innovative ways of raping your privacy.

      Because you can bet your ass the exploitation of the pill tracking data will be outsourced to the private sector...

      • raping your privacy.

        I'm thinking you probably said "yes" to those terms of service.

      • by cstacy ( 534252 )

        Nurse Google will love this: yet another set of really personal data to be mined and exploited for new and innovative ways of raping your privacy.

        Because you can bet your ass the exploitation of the pill tracking data will be outsourced to the private sector...

        Minor nit: They're packaging the device in a pill; the suppository implementation was deemed to unpalatable.

    • Fun fact: that movie was a major driver to shut down all the mental asylums. Before that movie, it was considered cruel to let crazy people flounder around in society. Afterwards, it was considered cruel to keep them locked up in prison asylums. As long as they could physically feed themselves, they should be let loose. The ACLU sued to get the mental asylums shut down, and they won. When Ronald Reagan closed down the now-empty facilities to save money, he was immediately blamed. Even more fun fact: t
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If that Texas dude had taken his medication, 26 people would still be alive. Guns don't kill people, unmedicated loonies do.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Who's idea was it to close down all the asylums back in the 80's?

    • and if we funded places for people and took care of war vets with PDST.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by slick7 ( 1703596 )

        and if we funded places for people and took care of war vets with PDST.

        The problem is that the "loonies" are the ones in control. Secondly, the medical establishment, big pharma, and the FDA all believe in the hypocritical oath, "First, do no harm to my bank account. Patients do not matter except when there is no medical coverage.

      • There's probably a high correlation of PTSD incidence in veterans with homelessness. In that case the United States does operate a funding program through the VA which can help provide for those veterans.

        https://www.va.gov/homeless/gp... [va.gov]

    • That's not how it works. Medication doesn't fix everything. Hell, sometime it barely fixes anything... or even make things worse.
  • for people required to take anti-psychotics after being found Not Criminally Responsible for a crime for instance, or for sex offenders sentenced to chemical castration. Or anyone who is a threat to others if they don't take their meds.

  • Microwave Solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Scarletdown ( 886459 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @06:54PM (#55551147) Journal

    I can just see people deciding to now empty their pills into a bowl and microwaving on high for a few minutes. That should fry whatever tattletale device they are tainted with.

    • Unfortunately, it may also compromise the effectiveness of their medication, which is often heat-sensitive.

  • by waspleg ( 316038 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @06:54PM (#55551149) Journal

    I have a CPAP, I already have to submit an SD card to them routinely to continue getting the insurance to cover medical supplies. Guess what's next?

    • Mines wireless, just auto updates to my insurance, yet they still stiff me on paying it or supplies. ACA really messed up my insurance.

    • You're untrustworthy. You have to prove you use the device. In the old America, we just trusted people by default. In the new America, you'd have to be a moron to trust people.
  • Wait. What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So, this is a pill you take to monitor whether you've taken your other pills, yes? How long does it remain in position to monitor the other pills? do you clean off this pill and retake in once it leaves your system? (Gross. :-)

    If you're having trouble remembering to take your other pills why would you remember to take this one? The questions just go on. :-)

  • Resistance is futile. Bend over and get fucked.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is easily beaten. Saw a demo a few years ago of these smart pills dissolved in vinegar. That was acidic enough to function as stomach acids. The pill still sent the ingested BLE signal just as if it was taken in a stomach.

  • (Female voice - medicine cabinet) If you feel you are not properly sedated, call 348-844 immediately. Failure to do so may result in prosecution for criminal drug evasion.

  • why people don't take it all on schedule. I get not liking pills, then don't go get them. But why not take them if you went to the trouble of going to the pharmacy?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because sometimes doctors give you medications that are for a condition that they suspect you might or might not have. Then when you get that little cardboard box with the pills and safety manual listing possible side effects, you might have second thoughts. Example is Xarelto, a blood thinner, with various risks such as bleeding into the brain, swelling of limbs, reduced red blood cell count, fever etc...

      • Because sometimes doctors give you medications that are for a condition that they suspect you might or might not have. Then when you get that little cardboard box with the pills and safety manual listing possible side effects, you might have second thoughts

        Then your doc is doing a lousy job not to have mentioned that when discussing possible prescriptions.

    • My dad used to manage a homeless shelter. He dealt with a lot of people who had mental illness. They would get on a regimen, start feeling normal, get back to some semblance of a normal life, and then decide they didn't need the medicine any more. It happened over and over to the same people. Get better, Convince yourself your healed, Fall back in the hole. It's a symptom of their illness and It's these type of folks that this would likely be most useful for.

  • This Medical control,
      it appears you did not take your "mellow" pill this morning, you have 5 minutes to comply....

  • I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices failed to cry out in terror as they were slowly deprived of their freedom. I fear something terrible is happening.

  • "It looks like you ingested another Viagra and your location is not at home. Would you like help to initiate divorce proceedings?"
  • by Translation Error ( 1176675 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @10:07AM (#55554173)
    Personally, I think Ars Technica's headline & subhead on this was best:

    Experts raise eyebrows at digital pill to monitor patients with schizophrenia
    Pill reports when it's ingested in patients who may have delusions of being spied on.

  • Where is the digital pill that tracks if you've ingeted your daily dosage of fake news / propaganda.
  • https://www.google.com/patents... [google.com]

    The rest of their patents are linked as references.

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