Survey: Physicians split on whether trackable pills will improve patient outcomes

U.S. physicians indicate an almost 50-50 split when asked whether trackable pills will improve patient outcomes, according to a recent survey by SERMO, a global social network for physicians.

The survey follows the FDA's Nov. 13 approval of Abilify MyCite, a pill for schizophrenia, acute bipolar disorder and adult depression. Abilify MyCite, an oral drug with an embedded sensor, marks the first approved drug in the U.S. with a digital ingestion tracking system.

The ingestible sensor transmits information to a smartphone app, so patients and their caregivers can monitor medication intake and adherence. To assess physician attitudes toward the technology, SERMO asked 2,673 of its physician members: Do you think trackable pills would improve patient outcomes?

In the U.S., 51 percent of the 1,566 surveyed physicians indicated "yes," trackable pills would likely improve patient outcomes. Worldwide, 60 percent of physicians reported they thought trackable pills would improve patient outcomes.

At the time of Abilify MyCite's approval, Mitchell Mathis, MD, director of the division of psychiatry products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said the agency would continue to evaluate the efficacy of trackable pills for various conditions.

"Being able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients," Dr. Mathis said in a Nov. 13 statement. "The FDA supports the development and use of new technology in prescription drugs and is committed to working with companies to understand how technology might benefit patients and prescribers."

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