Medical Microchips: The Greatest Drug Delivery Discovery?
For animal lovers and security personnel, the practice of inserting microchips under your custodian’s skin is common. They act as an effective means of identification and location targeting.
Now imagine a specialised medical microchip with a reservoir of drugs and wireless communication technology being inserted under Your skin.
It is remotely programmed by your medical professional to automatically release your daily dose of medications when required in the right dose. And it can sense biochemical changes and communicate wirelessly with patients and caregivers.
How would you like that?
If this sounds like science fiction, it’s not. As reported by CNN (ref 1) it’s fact and happening today.
The idea originated in the 1990’s with Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers. They developed an implantable chip with micro-reservoir technology designed to release drugs into the body by a wireless signal.
This technology was further developed by the MicroCHIPS company (ref 2), and by 2012 they were ready to ‘go live’ on humans.
In a study (ref 3) they implanted a drug ‘infused’ microchip under the skin of eight women with osteoporosis. Over four months the device delivered regular doses of an osteoporosis drug normally given by injection. The study showed this method was not only safe and effective, but that it specifically increased bone formation. Patients also stated that the implant did not negatively impact their quality of life.
“Since then the device has improved considerably, and can deliver more drugs than before”, says MicroCHIPS CEO
The company intends to release its first product to the public in 2017. This will likely be a hormonal contraception device that can be turned on and off wirelessly and releases a consistent daily dose. It will have the ability to offer progestin and estrogen together, like a combination birth control pill.
The first version of this device may last five years in the body, but it’s possible to create one that could effectively deliver drugs for up to 16 years.
Additionally other versions are being developed for chronic conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
I shudder at the thought. Why?
Because 15 years ago, I suffered from a severe form of MS. The only ‘solution’ was toxic and unproven drugs. Today, some of these drugs are known to be fatal.
So I ask myself, how would I feel if I had one of these medical microchips implanted and pumping toxic gunk in me? Let me share my thoughts about the respective advantages, disadvantages and broader issues…
For sure, I would have appreciated no more pill popping. No more forgetting when to take what combination of medications. No more having to remember my medical records because they would be ‘electronically stored’ in my unique chip and transmitted to my medical reps.
I can even see how it may be a great birth control mechanism, because there are no excuses about forgetting to take the pill! And eventually the medical microchip may even serve as a rescue device, remotely releasing medications for heart attack, stroke or allergic reactions in at-risk patients.
Indeed, as MicroCHIPS reps say: “The device can provide or enhance patient treatment without direct intervention by either the user or caregivers. This has the potential to improve patients lifestyle and outcomes as well as reduce healthcare costs by delivering therapy outside of traditional point-of-care.”
In sum, according to MicroCHIPS’ CEO, “The MicroCHIPS implantable drug delivery device is the greatest advancement in delivering medicine since the first tablet/pill was developed in 1876."
Let’s consider the disadvantages and broader issues….
The Disadvantages and Broader Issues to Consider
If I had this thing in me I’d be asking:
- What ‘control do I have? What if I and my medical professional disagree on what’s right for me? Will they force me to be micro-chipped?
- How would a chip get all the new drugs appearing regularly? Maybe through walk-in clinics for medical chip updates?
- If I want to wean myself off the drugs, how can I do that if my choices are determined by the person controlling the ‘switch’, and they disagree with me?
- How might this technology be disrupted, misused or hacked, potentially delivering obscene amounts of drugs into my and other's systems?
- How does this technology affect the role of medical professionals?
Perhaps, worst of all is the question: How might this technology enable drug companies to gain an even tighter grip over the lives of sick people, or just those who take contraception pills? Think of the increased profits for drug companies, potentially at the further expense of our health and liberty.
I’m sure you can think of many more issues, and we’d love to hear them.
So in conclusion, should we be afraid?
I think we should be cautious, and ready to question as above. Personally, the idea repulses me. But I am reassured because I just don’t see this working en mass due to the ethical and practical issues involved. Then again, who ever thought some vaccinations would become compulsory (ref 4)?
One thing is for sure: IF this goes ahead, especially en mass, the Disclaimer will need be as long as the Obamacare bill!
- CNN report http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2014/04/health/the-cnn-10-healing-the-future/?frame=1&hpt=he_c1
- The Company who invented the Medical Micro chip http://www.mchips.com/
- The study:”First-in-Human Testing of a Wirelessly Controlled Drug Delivery Microchip http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/early/2012/02/15/scitranslmed.3003276
- Compulsory vaccinations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccination_policy + http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/government-regulation
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