/publications/issue/2009/2009-05/TechnologyNews-0509

PHARMACY TECHNOLOGY NEWS

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I Think, Therefore iPill: ‘Smart’ Pill Delivers Meds
Scientists have developed a device that could steer medication efficacy in a new, pioneering direction. The Intelligent Pill, or iPill, can be programmed to pilot its way to a targeted area of the intestinal tract where medication is needed, communicating with the patient’s physician along the way.

Created by Phillips Research in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, the iPill prototype is a plastic capsule containing a tiny microprocessor; a silver oxide battery; a wireless transceiver, through which it communicates to a control unit outside the body; pH and temperature sensors; a pump comprised of a motor and piston propelled by a screw rod, which releases the drug; and a reservoir for medication.

The iPill, which is built to be swallowed like any other pill, was made to address the need for accurate drug delivery to particular sites in the intestinal tract for disorders such as Crohn’s disease, colitis, and colon cancer. By targeting delivery of medications for these conditions, the iPill has the potential to reduce side effects and allow for decreased dosages, according to Phillips Research.

The location of the iPill within the body is determined using pH value in the gut. External medical imaging technology could be used in concert with the iPill, both in situations where a precise read on location of the pill in the body is needed, and to determine where a drug needs to be released in the body.

Oprah Features IntelliDOT in Med Safety Show
IntelliDOT Corp spread awareness of the prevalence of medication errors on the March 10 Oprah Winfrey Show. The company demonstrated its bedside patient safety solution to help bring attention to the problem of medication errors while illustrating the simplicity and efficacy of the IntelliDOT bar-code scanning system.

Actor Dennis Quaid also was on the show, sharing the story of his infant twins who nearly died last year after receiving an adult dose of heparin. Quaid, Winfrey, and Dr. Mehmet Oz role-played possible medication error scenarios in which IntelliDOT proved invaluable for catching serious mistakes.

“American consumers need to know about the widespread problem of medication errors. Every patient—infant, child, adult—is at risk,” said Michael E. Donner, vice president of marketing and inside sales at IntelliDOT. “However, the good news is that many of these medication errors can be prevented at the bedside through the use of effective bar-code point-of-care technology.”

Device Predicts Adverse Drug Effects
A prototype handheld device has the ability to assess whether patients are genetically predisposed to experiencing adverse effects from medications, bringing the potential for drugs and dosages to be tailor-made to meet the unique needs of individual patients. Imperial College London and its spinout company DNA Electronics developed the device, and have partnered with Pfizer to conduct effectiveness trials.

The Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Doctor, or SNP Dr, works by analyzing the DNA in saliva or cheek swab samples, which are placed in a cartridge and exposed to silicon chip sensors inside the device. A copy of the fast or slow metabolic SNPs is contained in the chip, and if a match is detected, the device’s console displays a message.

Safeway Increases Efficiency with EnterpriseRx
EnterpriseRx, a pharmacy management suite from McKesson Pharmacy Systems, will soon be deployed in Safeway pharmacies throughout the country. McKesson stated that the adoption of the fully integrated and centrally hosted system will enhance Safeway’s medication safety and customer service capabilities, as well as allow the company to maximize efficiency of operations in its pharmacies through better management of demand and resources.

“We are especially proud to have the chance to work with a leader like Safeway, and we appreciate the importance they are placing on health care by making such an investment in this economic environment,” said Stanton McComb, president of McKesson Pharmacy Systems.

Safeway joins the ranks of >30 clients representing >3000 retail and health system pharmacies that have employed EnterpriseRx in their operations since its inception in 2006.