ICBioethics Blog 

New Medication Delivery Technology

Written by: Leah Jeunnette, Ph.D.(c)

Breakthrough technologies for medicine often fall into two categories: 1) new drugs/ treatments; or 2) improved delivery of current drugs/treatments. A new company Microchips is trying to improve medication delivery. They produce small chips for subcutaneous insertion that deliver specified amounts of medicine at the same time daily. They can be programmed and reprogrammed to fit any prescription changes. Products in development include birth control and medications for multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis.

At face value, this is a great idea. These remove human errors that sometimes interfere with taking (or administering) medications correctly and consistently. Comparisons have been made to pacemakers, which are controlled remotely through the phone system. That widespread, commonplace medical technology is now considered safe for users.

Certainly there will be people concerned about the insertion of subcutaneous microchips, nervous about privacy and control issues. Visions of a dystopian future generate fear, where microchips monitor people’s locations and daily activities. And maybe rightly so . . . companies are not always transparent regarding product failures, and new technologies can be invasive . . . and, truthfully, not always created with users’ best interests in mind.

Sometimes people just assume the worst about potentially helpful technologies they do not understand. However, if safeguards are in place that control the devices and prevent interruptions in service, AND they are monitored, audited, and in compliance with all mandated confidentiality and patient protections, they should be no riskier than pacemakers, right? Or is there something more I need to understand?

Mitch GennusoComment