Adherence: The Achilles Heel of Drug Efficacys
A conversation with Vesta Brue, CEO of MedSignals, which developed and markets a 4-drug portable med-minding device.

  • Guest: Vesta Brue, CEO, MedSignals
  • Live Podcast Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 2 PM Eastern US time
  • Duration: Approx. 15-30 minutes
  • Go to the Pharma Marketing Talk Channel Page to listen live to the podcast on the Web with your browser. You will also be able to participate in an online chat with the host and speaker to ask questions!

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Lack of adherence–the combined effect of compliance and persistence–is a big problem for the pharmaceutical industry. In the U.S. alone, the revenue loss due to medication non-adherence is $84 billion. As an example, the per capita spending on diabetes treatment in the U.S. is about $12,000. The majority of that–$7,000–is wasted due to non-adherence.

A new communicating pillbox holds promise for ending the guessing game about drug adherence. The 4-drug portable MedSignals® aids patients in remembering at pill time, records timing of lid openings, uploads usage data daily to host servers, and then reveals adherence patterns to authorized caregivers keeping an eye on patient charts on the web. The MedSignals device was first developed by LIFETECHniques, a privately-owned R&D incubator that invents and tests technologies to help people self-manage difficult health behaviors.

In this Live Podcast and Chat, Ms. Brue will be talking about the problem of adherence and her company’s solution to that problem.

Asheesh GuptaVesta Brue
MedSignals was founded by Vesta Brue who conceived of the med-minder in 2002 when she won a grant from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to build a smart pillbox to remind HIV/AIDS patients when to take pills consistent with their highly complex regimens. She envisioned the MedSignals product line, secured seed funding through six subsequent grants from National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling over $5-million, outsourced industrial designers, oversaw prototype fabrication, conducted five clinical trials to date, and attracted a world-class team. Brue remains majority owner of the company. She holds one awarded patent and one pending for MedSignals. Brue holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in journalism from Kansas State University.

Brue is active in healthcare business circles in both San Antonio and numerous national organizations. MedSignals is the second among her award-winning innovations. Previously she invented a smart cigarette case to stop smoking, SmokeSignals, which provided much of the technological platform used by MedSignals.

Topics/Questions covered:

  • TBD

Additional Resources

Accomplishing Adherence
Chase Compliance, Pursue Persistence


Lack of adherence — the combined effect of compliance and persistence — is a big problem for the pharmaceutical industry. James Chase, editor-in-chief of MM&M, once wrote “To say that tackling patient compliance and persistence poses a challenge to the pharmaceutical industry is like calling Tiger Woods a competent golfer or describing Katrina as a particularly bad storm. It is a gross understatement.”

This article reviews presentations made at the recent eyeforpharma Patient Adherence and Persistence Summit including a presentation by David Baker, VP & General Manager of Shire’s ADHD Business Unit, who presented on “Best Practices for Fostering Adherence.” He used the ADHD market as a case study.

Topics and issues covered include:

  • Definitions
  • Adherence in the ADHD Market
  • Do Your Research
  • WHO’s Adherence Take Home Messages
  • Shire’s Solution
  • Tips
  • Patient Compliance: The Problem with Today’s Solutions
  • Reward Them — Intermittently — and They Shall Adhere!
  • Rewards = Behavior Change
  • MedSignals® Communicating Pillbox

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