New 'Smart Pill' Raises Ethical Questions

Arthur L. Caplan. Is the 'Digital Pill' an Invasion of Privacy? - Medscape - Dec 03, 2015. 
NYU bioethicist Arthur Caplan says he can imagine a judge using Proteus to enforce medication as part of a sentence: miss a pill, and your parole is revoked. "The temptation in the legal system to say, 'I can monitor you and make sure you're not a threat' is going to be huge," Caplan says. "Maybe that's good, maybe it's bad, but it's a different world than saying I consent to taking these pills." Those court orders are rare at the moment, since there’s no way to ensure a patient is taking medication outside of a controlled treatment facility — but as pill-tracking becomes easier, those measures could become much more common.

Noted bioethicist Arthur Caplan sounded the alarm on NBC News about the privacy implications of this technology back in 2015. (Several other experts also spoke to The New York Times about their concerns when the pill was approved this week.)

“The challenge to your privacy begins right now,” he wrote, calling the device “snitch pills.” (

Listen to Art's podcast about this smart pill project (starting in the audio link at 4:55) by following this link:

Michael Petersen. Objective Adherence: Measurement to Management - SmartPack, App, or Chip-in-Pill? - Jan 12, 2018.

Otsuka’s Abilify MyCite antipsychotic digital pill version entered the market with a bit of a whimper last November. It’s a step forward in the field of objective adherence measurement (i.e. measuring and recording when a patient takes their medicine). However, adherence measurement is far from adherence management. The former can enable the latter, but without a coherent and patient-targeted approach, adherence measurement technologies will always just collect data, but not improve adherence in and by themselves.

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