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Would you be willing to take the “digital pill”?

Screenshot from CBS News' YouTube video: "Digital pills" track medications

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug administration approved the use of Abilify MyCite. Abilify MyCite is a “digital pill” that helps patients monitor if and when they have taken their medication. It works in tandem with a patch the patient wears. The pill has a small chip inside it that, when ingested, will send a signal to the patch, which, in turn, sends a signal to smartphones and online health portals.

The ability to allow healthcare providers and caregivers access to this information has its obvious benefits, considering it’s quite common for a person to forget whether or not they have taken their medication. For those who require a specific daily dosage, this could potentially be a life saving invention. However, anytime information is shared digitally, there is the possibility a breach of confidentiality could occur. Besides, the idea of swallowing a digital chip is not something everyone finds appealing.

The plan for the Abilify MyCite pill is for it to be used primarily with patients that have schizophrenia and other mood disorders. People with schizophrenia must take their medicine precisely as instructed for the medicine to work properly. This new pill will help patients to keep track of their medicine intake. It is believed that this breakthrough will soon be able to be used in other medicines. With this new development of electronically tracking the intake of medicine comes the question of whether or not its potential invasion of privacy is ethical.

In this clip, CBS News explains what the digital pill does:

The Issue

Are you in favor of medicine that can be electronically tracked? Is this a great breakthrough that will help many people? Or, is this a huge invasion of privacy?

Page 2: Arguments in support of the “digital pill”

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