‘Smart’ pillbox wins Takeda depression challenge


A ‘smart’ pillbox to improve medication adherence has won an open innovation competition for depression.

Takeda launched the Open Innovation in Depression Care Crowd Challenge to crowdsource innovations for Multiple Depressive Disorder (MDD) earlier this year.

MDD, commonly referred to simply as depression, affects around 350 million globally and is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

The winner of the competition is EllieGrid, the developer of a smart pillbox that reminds MDD patients when to take their medication and at what dose.

The lid of the pillbox has a grid pattern that corresponds with the box's compartments. LED lights sit above each compartment and light up when a specific medication needs to be taken.

Linking to a companion smart device app allows for quick calibration of the device and delivers automated text and visual messages, reminding a patient when a medication needs to be taken.

The information can also be shared with friends, family and caregivers to inform them of when a patient has or hasn’t taken their medication.

Takeda’s depression challenge is yet another example of pharma’s growing interest in crowdsourcing for innovative healthcare solutions. Last week, Sandoz launched its global initiative seeking mhealth solutions to healthcare access challenges, whilst companies such as MSD and Bayer also have their own ongoing digital health innovation programmes.

Medication adherence is also attractingattention from healthcare providers and technology companies. Recently, the NHS revealed its own medication adherence platform Healthera which combines an app, a pharmacy software platform and an analytics platform for GPs.

Tech giant Philips is the most notable technology company active in the adherence device space with its Medido platform which it plans to launch in the US by the year's end. Results from a study earlier this year suggested revealed that around 96% of patients using Medido remained adherent to their therapeutic regimen.

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Marco Ricci

6 October, 2016