New pill sends health analysis to your doctor directly from your stomach
June 24, 2013
Proteus Biomedical Inc., a California based company, has developed a smart pill also known as the Helius system, that has the capability of notifying your physician once a prescription drug has been ingested. The drug comes with a tiny digestible silicon-based chip that contains trace amounts of magnesium and copper. Once digested, the metals mix with your stomach acids, creating an electrical charge that’s sent to an external skin patch worn by the patient. This skin patch transmits the information to your iPhone or computer, and is then sent directly to your doctor.
The information not only notifies your doctor that you’ve taken the pill, but it also offers up a full body health check reporting your current heart rate, body temperature, exercise levels and even decides whether or not you’re sleeping well. The Helius system also reminds the patient when the next dosage is due.
Big Pharma claims the technology is absolutely vital in ensuring that elderly patients are reminded to take their prescribed medications.
The smart pill has been in development since 2010 but was given market approval by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) just last year. Proteus Biomedical made their first deal using the Helius system with a UK-based retail pharmacy called Lloydspharmacy, allowing British citizens to act as the first test subjects for the new computer-chipped drugs.
While many feel this technology is simply yet another invasive tool used to invade privacy by tracking information that should be private knowledge available to the individual only, Steve Gray the Director of Lloydspharmacy Healthcare Services says “Lloydspharmacy is committed to improving positive health outcomes for patients and the Helius system is an exciting development which takes our current medication adherence offering to a whole new level.”
Proteus Biomedical’s Chief Product Officer David O’Reilly says “The Helius product we launch with Lloyds in the UK this year represents the direction we see all pharmacy businesses in the US and Europe headed — away from selling just pills and toward selling information-based health solutions with the community pharmacist at the core.”
Cleverly, Proteus Biomedical promotes their drug by claiming it’s powered by you and is simply another opportunity for the patient to take control of their health.
Although there are probably important health benefits associated with this technology, once again the problem lies with the entity implementing the system. Too often, Big Pharma introduces technology that’s financially beneficial to itself rather than to the consumer.