Is sensor-embedded Abilify going too far? Absolutely not.


I’ve seen a lot of life-changing advancements come to market in the 30 years I’ve been working in life sciences, and the recent FDA approval of the sensor-embedded version of Abilify is no exception. While the tech should allow doctors to monitor the use of a patient’s drug, the impact could reach so much further. For example, could tech one day help prevent prescription opioid abuse? Could sensors help regulate dosage of other drugs based on an individual’s moment-to-moment reaction? The possibilities are almost endless, and they could signify the start of a new era in healthcare unlike anything we’ve seen before.

Of course, like almost every advancement in pharma, the FDA’s approval of the Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Proteus Digital Health’s brainchild isn’t without concern: is medicine advancing too close to “big brother”? Are we giving too much control to practitioners and therapeutics? Are advancements like this ultimately setting us up for a different abuse potential?

My answer: no. As an executive search consultant, I’ve gotten to know a lot of leaders in drug development and manufacturing personally. It’s part of what I like best about my job -- I’m required to really get to know people when I recruit them for a high-impact role to ensure they’re the right fit in terms of ability and culture. While the right leadership candidates do earn enviable paychecks and benefits packages, I’ve learned that compensation is rarely the reason life sciences leaders get into or stay in the industry. Their real motivation is making an impact and saving lives. After all, the majority of biopharma products in development never get approved. The women and men leading life sciences teams and companies do so because they cherish the opportunity to “move the needle.”

Leadership skills are valuable in every industry, and when the odds are stacked against success, like they are in life sciences, it would seem easy to be lured away. The leaders who stay in life sciences are in it for the potential outcome. Because there’s no better feeling than knowing something you personally contributed to is saving lives.

Read more about the FDA approval of a sensor-embedded version of Abilify in this article from Forbes.

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