eHealth News, South Africa

Smart Pill Device Keeps TB Medication Adherence on Track

Wisepill Technologies has developed a medication event monitoring device for TB, giving new hope for TB and HIV patients.

TB - EHN

Locally-based company, Wisepill Technologies has developed a medication event monitoring device for tuberculosis (TB), giving new hope for TB and HIV patients living in countries where TB is a major health issue.

Wisepill Technologies, who manufactures a range of adherence monitoring technologies for use with TB and HIV patients in resource-limited settings, has developed and manufactured the Medication Event-Reminder Monitor (MERM) device funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The cost-effective system is specifically designed to be used with blister-packaged TB medications, incorporates visual and audible reminders of both daily dosing and refill, compiles detailed dosing histories, and transmits these data to digital health systems to support enhanced adherence counselling and guide differentiated care.

The solution intended for wide scale adoption in China, India and Africa has been successfully used in a large health outcomes-oriented, cluster-randomised trial involving 3,800 patients, conducted by the China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention across 24 counties/districts in the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Jilin in China.

The Arcady Group, on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, selected Wisepill Technologies to develop the medication reminder and monitoring system. The Arcady Group helps organisations and businesses address global health issues, enhance patient and disease management and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health systems.

“We are grateful to the Gates Foundation for their support, and we are very pleased to have been able to help bring a new, highly affordable, highly scalable adherence technology to the global fight against TB,” said Founder and Managing Director of The Arcady Group, Bruce V. Thomas.

“We are confident that it will be an essential tool and believe that, when deployed at scale and in conjunction with counselling from providers, the MERM device will play an important role in ongoing efforts to reduce TB morbidity and mortality,” continued Thomas.

According to Wisepill Technologies, new, cost-effective adherence monitoring technologies will enable more patient-centred adherence monitoring options and will inform and enable differentiated care to improve health outcomes and reduce TB morbidity and mortality.

“We are delighted to bring new levels of affordability, reliability and functionality to TB adherence monitoring. The MERM device is a very low patient burden, has been well-received by Chinese patients and healthcare providers and holds great promise to achieve more patient-centric and more differentiated care for TB patients,” said Founder and Director at Wisepill Technologies, Lloyd Marshall.

“With TB being the leading cause of death in South Africa over the past three years and with World TB Day on 24 March, we are pleased with the timing of this development. According to Stats SA, Tb killed more than 33,000 people in 2015 alone,” concluded Marshall.

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