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Innovative medical technology is trying to solve the problem of getting people to take their medicine, but its cost and its unfamiliarity has blocked widespread use, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: The first digital therapy to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Abilify MyCite, isn't on the market because of providers' and insurers' reservations about the product.

  • Abilify is an old drug used to treat schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. The new product is the same pill but with an electronic tracking component added, which transmits a signal when it comes into contact with stomach acid.
  • Eventually, doctors can view the data collected to monitor whether a patient is taking his or her medicine — serious information for schizophrenia patients.
  • Abilify MyCite costs $1,650 a month.

The big picture: The collision of drugs and medical devices with Silicon Valley has resulted in apps to help treat numerous health care conditions, and there are studies underway for more digital pills to treat cancer and other diseases.

  • But the cost-effectiveness of these new technologies hasn't yet been proven, and until if and when it is, that's a huge barrier to uptake.
  • "I think that these technologies have a lot of potential benefits, but it's going to be a question of evidence — that they can demonstrate value to patients and payers," former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told the Post.

Go deeper: A blind spot for medical AI

Go deeper

Updated 12 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 14 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 15 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.