Prescription opioid overdoses have tripled in the United States over the past ten years, but it seems little advancement is aimed at solving the issue. However, a recent in-Pharma Technologist article discussed a new method that offers hope in solving the opioid epidemic. The PopTest Companies have developed smart pills that ‘talk’ to each other via radio signals, fluidics, and micro-mechanical actuators. Each capsule contains an embedded microchip that's programmed by the drug maker to ensure only a licensed pharmacist can program the pill for individual patient needs.
The pills contain sensors that detect other smart pills and compounds already in the patient’s body and only release the active ingredient if there’s no risk of overdose. This system also allows law enforcement to immediately trace the origin and purpose of the pills. The company that developed the pills is part of a family of entrepreneurial companies with no salaried employees, but rather a network of scientists, clinicians, physicians, lawyers, and professionals who work with third party companies to commercialize products. The patent, awarded at the end of May, covers the drug delivery and abuse deterrence device- the next step is FDA approval. A informational video about the pills can be viewed here.