via STAT News
A world where the human soul is extinguished for a sterile, micromanaged, and chemically-induced state of “happiness”—it’s the dystopian vision laid out in Aldous Huxley’s famous novel “A Brave New World”, yet everyday we seem to draw one step closer to it.
And now, in a bold move that could spell the end of medical freedom as we know it, the FDA just approved what’s being called the “smart pill”—a medication that can keep track of whether or not you ingest it and even report your consistency to others over the internet.
“The so-called ‘Smart Pill’ is smart for the drug companies,” says Dr. Peter Breggin, MD in an interview with The Free Thought Project, “It forces people to swallow their products.”
Indeed, this seems to be the inevitable destination of such technology and it’s raising ethical red flags for numerous medical professionals.
The drug is called “Abilify MyCite”, a variation of the popular drug known more scientifically as “aripiprazole” that has become infamous for its dangerous side effects.
The smart pill has a “sensor that digitally tracks if patients have ingested their medication” and received FDA approval in mid-November.
According to The Free Thought Project:
“Presumably using ‘compliance’ with taking prescribed medicines as justification, the drug, ‘has an ingestible sensor embedded in the pill that records that the medication was taken.’
“Abilify MyCite was ‘approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder and for use as an add-on treatment for depression in adults.’
“Abilify is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), a class of drugs which, by law, must contain the following black box warning label for consumers. That black box warning label reads:
- “Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. ABILIFY is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis. (5.1)
“Increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults taking antidepressants. Monitor for worsening
and emergence of suicidal
thoughts and behaviors. (5.3)”
The irony should be obvious: a drug designed to treat impulsive behavior, yet known for side effects that actually induce more of the behavior, can now be tracked to determine if patients are actually ingesting it according to their prescriptions.
In May 2016, the drug’s side effects became so impactful that the FDA released a warning about its capacity to induce compulsive/impulsive behavior:
“Although pathological gambling is listed as a reported side effect in the current aripiprazole drug labels, this description does not entirely reflect the nature of the impulse-control risk that we identified.
“Additionally, we have become aware of other compulsive behaviors associated with aripiprazole, such as compulsive eating, shopping, and sexual actions…uncontrollable urges…
“Those with a personal or family history of obsessive-compulsive disorder, impulse-control disorder, bipolar disorder, impulsive personality, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other addictive behaviors. Consider reducing the dose or stopping the medicine if such urges develop.”
There are many instances in effect today where psychiatric and government authorities have the power to mandate patients to take medications. This so-called “smart pill” would only further exacerbate their power to track and ensure that Big Pharma’s profit-making capsules are consumed.
Even scarier, there’s an online/digital component to the drug where the data associated with the patient’s consumption “transmits…to a mobile app that the patient can monitor…the patient’s caregivers and doctor can access the data online, too.”
Thankfully, numerous medical professionals and spoken out against the implications of the “smart pill’s” use.
Tia Powell, MD, the Director of the Montefiore-Einstein Center for Bioethics and the Master of Science program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine described in an op-ed:
“But what makes Abilify MyCite, a high-tech version of aripiprazole, problematic is that it could easily be incorporated into forced treatment, which ignores the values and preferences of people with mental illness.
“Involuntary treatment has a long and painful history in mental health. Without their consent, people with mental illness can be committed to inpatient or outpatient treatment, and sometimes forced to take medications.”
Tia reiterates that there is an “obvious allure in the legal arena”, particularly when it comes to court-ordered treatments where “consent takes on a different meaning if exchanged for freedom, child custody, or a lighter sentence.”
Indeed, as Dr. Breggin puts it, “It’s smart for psychiatrists who believe in social control and some day it’s going to be smart for government…(to) monitor everything we do…If I were a patient the last thing I’d want to do is be pushed and forced to take Abilify.”
Ironically, Dr. Breggin said that when his wife heard about the new “smart pill”, she described it with one word: “Orwellian.”