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Drugs monitor for right dose at right time

London, Sept. 11: Bang & Olufsen, the maker of designer television and music systems, has struck a deal with AstraZeneca, the European drugs group, to develop a device to ensure that patients do not forget to take their medication.

The Danish group has agreed to develop a monitoring device that will record whether patients take the right dose of medication at the right time.The Anglo-Swedish drug maker plans to use the new technology in clinical trials.

The device is intended to tackle the huge problem of patients failing to take the medication prescribed for them. A Harris Interactive/Wall Street Journal survey conducted last year found that 64 per cent of American patients prescribed regular medication said that at times they had forgotten to take it. Of these patients, 11 per cent forgot to take their medication often or very often.

The result can be damaging for patients, governments and the pharmaceuticals industry.

For governments, it can mean millions of pounds wasted on prescription drugs that are ineffective because they are not taken properly. For the patient, it can mean that prescribed drugs do not have the desired effect, possibly requiring an extended period of medication or other drugs, or even, in the most extreme cases, resulting in hospitalisation or death.

Pharmaceuticals companies can miss out when patients believe that their drugs are ineffective, possibly leading them to give up treatment, reduce the frequency of repeat prescriptions or ask their doctor for a more effective alternative.

Bang & Olufsen’s technology allows users to monitor how well they are complying with their prescription. A small light on its hand-held tablet monitoring device indicates a user’s track record, with the light switching from green to amber to red depending on how well the patient has followed their prescription.

The hand-held device is custom-designed to house a single tray of tablets. It monitors when the patient takes one of the tablets and updates the dose against the prescription.

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