Health experts were taken aback that the first FDA approved digital drug was an antipsychotic, for a portion of patients taking this medication live with schizophrenia. Experiencing paranoia and living in fear of being watched, taking this bodily data transmitting pill for others to survey may prove undesirable to these patients.
"Many of [these] patients don't take meds because they don't like side effects, don't think they have an illness, or they become paranoid about the doctor or their intentions," Dr. Paul Appelbaum, director of law, ethics and psychiatry at Columbia University's psychiatry department, told The New York Times. "A system that will monitor behavior, send signals out of [the patient’s] body, and notify their doctor? You would think that, whether in psychiatry or general medicine, drugs for almost any other condition would be a better place to start than a drug for schizophrenia,” Dr. Appelbaum said.
Dr. Walid Gellad, co-director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh, is largely optimistic about the built in sensor technology, but has concerns about privacy. "We've seen time and time again that stuff that's being transmitted ends up in the hands of people it shouldn't," Gellad says. "There are real concerns about data security."
The price of Abilify MyCite has yet to be made public; time will tell if this controversial drug finds its place among the pharmaceutical market.
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