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By Ryan Kisiel
Forgetful patients to be fitted with microchips to remind them to take their pills
Patients will be fitted with a microchip in their shoulder to remind them to take their medicine, under a new scheme being developed by a drugs company.
Older people will be given pills containing a harmless microchip that sends a signal to the chip in the shoulder when the pill is taken.
But if the pill is not taken by the forgetful patient, the chip in the shoulder will then send a text to a carer or the patient to remind them.
Swiss pharmaceutical group Norvatis is developing the electronic pill that it hopes will reduce the number of patients who have to be supervised taking their medicine.
Joe Jiminez, head of pharmaceuticals at Novartis, said tests of the ‘chip in the pill’ to a shoulder receiver chip had been carried out on 20 patients.
The experiment with a drug that lowers blood pressure had increased the amount of times patients had taken their medicine on time from 30 per cent to 80 per cent in six months.
Drug companies are keen to improve ‘compliance’ rates among patients as most end up not taking their correct dosages because of unpleasant side effects or a failure to gain symptoms quickly.
Medical companies hope it will reduce the number of hospitalisations from patients whose conditions have deteriorated from not taking their drugs.
Mr Jiminez said: ‘This industry is starting to explode.’ He added that his company would have to work closely with medical watchdogs and doctors.
Rival drug company Pfizer recently developed an automated system to telephone patients to encourage them to take their medicine.
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