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‘Smart’ Pill Bottle Heads for Clinical Trials

Bottle designed to improve adherence, reduce hospital readmissions (August 8)

Developed at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a “smart” pill bottle that notifies patients to take their medications or reminds them if they missed a dose could be en route to medicine cabinets as soon as 2015.

Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City has been awarded a grant to test the effect of the pill bottle on drug adherence in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients.

The patented technology uses a sensor in the bottle to detect when the bottle has been opened and to calculate the number of pills or amount of liquid remaining. The information is wirelessly transmitted to the cloud, from which a patient can be notified by phone, text, or email. Patients can also be reminded by a blinking light and sound from the bottle itself.

The bottle is being manufactured by a start-up company, AdhereTech, which is working to have 1,000 test bottles ready this fall for the Cornell tests and also for trials in type 2 diabetes patients that will take place at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Clinical trials will continue through the winter.

According to AdhereTech’s president, Josh Stein, the company is primarily seeking a partnership with a large pharmaceutical company — such as a specialty pharmaceutical company that distributes HIV medications — to use the AdhereTech bottle. “One main goal,” he said, “is to have such a product in our bottles.”

Cardiac patients being discharged from medical centers are another target market, Stein said, since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program reduces payments to hospitals with excessive readmissions. “Hospitals can discharge a heart patient from the hospital with medicine in our bottle to decrease readmissions from people missing their medications,” he said.

Source: University of Alabama; August 8, 2013.

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