UK-based pharmacy chain Lloydspharmacy is to launch a service offering customers ‘intelligent’ medicines, allowing a patient to follow doctors’ orders as required.

In a deal signed with US-based Proteus Biomedical, Lloydspharmacy will offer drugs containing edible microchips that transmit a signal to a disposable monitoring patch attached to the patient’s skin. The signals transmitted from the microchip will monitor the use of the drug, sleep patterns, heart rate and body posture, allowing the patient and carer to monitor the progress made through a computer or mobile device.

The service, which will cost approximately £50 per month, is due to be launched in September 2012 and will initially consist of a placebo pill containing a soluble microchip, an adhesive patch and data support. Despite the positives of such a method, concerns have been raised regarding patient privacy and the possibility of a two-tiered provision of healthcare being created, as the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) will not pay for the package, leaving the patient to pick up the bill.

The programme is designed to meet a growing need for greater provision of patient medication, with some estimates suggesting that as many as half of patients do not take medications as prescribed, costing the NHS as much as £400m a year.

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By GlobalData