FDA, yesterday approved the first digital pill. A pill called Abilify Mycite is for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder & depression and is fitted with an ingestible sensor that communicates with a patch worn on your ribs, which in turn communicates with your phone using Bluetooth. As of now, the digital pill enables only adherence data – that means if a medicine has been consumed or not. Medicine adherence is one of the biggest reason for losing revenue for pharma companies and there are many solutions that are trying to solve it. A few reports make the losses that pharma companies face due to non-adherence is around $630 Billion dollars. An industry that is already struggling with tax pressures and price control from governments, over competitive pricing of generic drugs from local companies and a shift to digital that many pharma companies are not geared up to adopt.
Abilify, the world’s first smart drug, will open the doors to many digital pills from different companies. Mix digital and nanotechnology with pharma companies and you get amazing futuristic products that can change the world that we live in. Ray Kurzweil, a Google futurist has already predicted that people will be able to live forever from 2029. The path till 2029 will be led by amazing technology in the pharma and healthcare space. I am listing down a few predictions that will see the light of the day in the next coming years: –
Nano-robots for Cardiovascular diseases
Imagine a pill that will release an army of Nanorobots into your blood vessels that can then clean the plaque that is stuck in the blood vessels. Once the cleaning is over, the nanorobots will be discharged from the body in the form of excreta or will self-dissolve. Cardiovascular diseases are a great worry for countries like India and Philippines were 30% or more population is prone to the disease.
Wearable patches for measuring and dosage
Wearable patches are already coming out in large numbers from various startups and large organization for different diseases. Companies like Roche has released a subdermal patch that can release contraceptive for the next three years. Patches for diabetes that can test the sugar level and release the required dosage automatically is not far away from mass consumption of the medicine.
Pharma companies selling disease solutions rather than pills
Pharma companies have started realizing that they need to partner the patients for the much larger journey than just giving them the pill. That will enable the pharma companies to create solutions that can connect the whole ecosystem together around any indication. The whole ecosystem will enable doctors, medicines, digital solutions to track patients, health tips, diet, consultation and more.
The field of robotics is enhancing with many manufacturing organizations are adopting to it in their assembly line and remote locations. Robotics will revolutionize the field of surgery where the operation would be held by a few mechanical arms that will be autonomous. The surgeons of today will need to learn a few things about operating with a robot arm.
3D printers and organ farming
Many would say this will start the Frankenstein era, but organ donation and getting organ donors is one of the main hindrances for those patients that need it. 3D printers creating an exact replica of a kidney or a heart and farming these organs with different blood groups and types will enable a large number of these patients to get artificially created organs.
Written by Shashank Shwet / November 15, 2017