[The digital pill, between beneficence and vigilance: ethical stakes]

Med Sci (Paris). Aug-Sep 2018;34(8-9):717-722. doi: 10.1051/medsci/20183408019. Epub 2018 Sep 19.
[Article in French]


Since November 2017, the digital pill, which makes it possible to know whether a patient has achieved compliance or not with the treatment has become a reality. This drug can benefit the patients by helping them to better follow their treatment and avoid misuse. However, even though the use of this device requests patient consent, major questions arise regarding the respect for privacy and freedom of action. Evidently, the correct use of drugs is both a public health and economic issue, but through this digital tool, the temptation could be to implement measures to control citizens, in particular regarding the use of treatments that affect health expenditure. A too prescriptive conception of monitoring algorithms could alter the care relationship, denying the part of adaptation that a patient can legitimately claim in taking his treatment. The digital pill could be a helpful tool but it is necessary to evaluate its fair place in terms of respect for the person and adequacy with its liberties.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Design
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Medical Record Linkage / methods*
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / ethics*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Physician-Patient Relations / ethics
  • Telemedicine* / ethics
  • Telemedicine* / methods