Show me the money (it didn’t work)

What motivates you? What do you care about? Behavioral economics is a bourgeoning field that tries to explain why we, as humans, make the decisions we do and people are winning Nobel prizes for it. Alright then, let’s try it on one of the most perplexing healthcare issues in the world, medication adherence. It is estimated two-thirds of medication-related hospital admissions in the US were because of noncompliance, at a cost of ~$100 billion a year. A recent study pulled out all the behavioral economic stops (money, clinical support, peer pressure) to see if medication compliance could be improved after a heart attack. A heart attack, not indigestion, a heart attack. The results? Nope. No difference between the two control groups. Holy cow people. Help me help you.

5. Cerealization? No, serialization.

The clock is ticking on global serialization compliance. (But if you’re behind, don’t feel bad. We thought this article was going to be about breakfast foods.) As the deadline approaches, anyone selling pharmaceutical products into the U.S. will be significantly impacted if their processes do not meet regulatory standards by the end of 2017. Specifically, all products must carry a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), serial number, lot number, and expiration date. According to Kurt Wieditz, Director/Team Leader Contract Manufacturing at Pfizer CentreOne, “Because initial serialization projects rarely go completely as planned, expect the total endeavor to take approximately 18 to 22 months.” Could be worse. You could be stuck barcoding Fruit Loops. Here’s the Wikipedia history of breakfast cereals.

4. A stroke of technological genius

Otsuka and NEC are teaming up to create a medicine “bottle” to help increase medication compliance. Apparently the threat of a 2nd stroke isn’t incentive enough for many patients. About half wander off course from their medication regimen after about six months. The new bottle will flash an LED light when a dose is due and will alert a patient’s prescriber of non-compliance. Pletal, Otsuka’s clot-fighting drug that reduces the chance of a second stroke, is optimally effective when taken uninterrupted so there are potentially large health benefits from the technology. This is all well and good until some do-gooder applies the technology to beer bottles that tell your doctor how much you drink. We’re just sayin’ it’s a slippery slope. That’s all.