Hitting the market in 2018, the FDA has approved a sensory embedded pill with the ability to track if patients have ingested the medication. Known as Abilify MyCite, which will be used to treat those suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, doctors will know immediately if in fact patients are taking their medicine. As the pill is taken and begins to be digested, stomach acids activate the sensors and electrical signals are then sent to a patch worn by the patient.
The patch records the time and date that the pill was consumed, and the data is sent to an app which doctors and family members have can access. Concerns over this new form of smart pharmaceutical brings in questions of ethics, privacy, and personal rights. Some have questioned if developing a tracking system in a pill for those who suffer from mental disorders with symptoms that include delusions and hallucinations was the best place to start.
As we enter a new era of smart pharmaceuticals and medical surveillance, reports have shown that the FDA anticipates a large wave of digital pills in the coming years. Such advanced methods of data-surveillance bring to question whether or not this level of surveillance is taking it too far. It will be interesting to see the reactions of the public as more information about Abilify MyCite and other forms of digital pills begins to be published.