Prescription drug adherence is a big problem in the U.S., costing the healthcare system hundreds of millions of dollars per year and often leading to health complications for patients who don’t follow their doctors’ orders. A startup called AdhereTech thinks it has a solution to that problem: a wireless pill bottle that alerts patients when they have to take their meds and keeps track of their usage and dosage.
Launching today at Hardware Battlefield at CES, AdhereTech’s pill bottle seeks to increase adherence and reduce the costs associated with missed or haphazard dosage. It does that by connecting to a cloud service wirelessly, collecting usage data and ensuring that patients are taking pills when they’re supposed to.
The problem is real: only about half of patients take medicine as directed six months after it’s been prescribed. For many, especially among the elderly, that’s due to forgetfulness. But some patients also choose to purposely omit doses or take more than their physicians prescribe.
That results in lost sales for pharmaceutical companies, but more importantly, it also means patients are at risk of having recurring health problems as a result. AdhereTech’s solution monitors dosage in real-time through the pill bottle, keeping patients continually on track.
The AdhereTech bottle can alert patients when it’s time to take their medicine, either through a call or text, or via blinking light directly in the bottle. It also has a wireless CDMA chip that sends a small amount of data, measuring when the bottle was opened and how many pills were taken.
The bottles hold a charge of about 45 days, but can be recharged when it runs low. The idea is that pharmacists could provide the bottles to patients, who would use them for a month and then swap them out for a newly charged bottle when they pick up refills the following month.
The company plans to partner with drug companies, particularly for very expensive drugs, to ensure that patients take them. Those companies would then issue the bottles to pharmacies, which would take care of distribution.