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Hacked wireless delivery devices could release fatal dose

By Nick Taylor, 09-Feb-2009

Related topics: Delivery technologies, Ingredients

 

Researchers have raised concerns that wirelessly activated drug delivery devices could be hacked to steal personal information or release potentially fatal doses of a therapeutic.

The research has been published in the Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology and calls for companies to ensure they have adequate security measures in place before launching a Remote Intelligent Drug Delivery System (RIDDS).

Such devices can be used to wirelessly monitor a patient’s health and adjust the timing and dose of therapeutic, which is viewed as a method of improving healthcare and compliance.

However, the traits that make the technology beneficial for caregivers and patients also make it vulnerable to hackers. The researchers commented: "We have raised security concerns in relation to RIDDS, especially in the context of medical sensor networks, because, among other reasons, a failure to do so could risk the privacy and possibly the life of a patient.

"The dilemma in RIDDS makes adoption of the technologies intimidating. Security mechanisms for RIDDS must be fully considered prior to the widespread deployment of such delivery systems."

Despite the threats raised by the researchers the benefits of RIDDS mean it is an attractive proposition to companies, caregivers and patients.

Remotely monitoring a patient’s pulse rate or blood oxygen levels and adjusting the treatment regime accordingly offers lifestyle benefits for the patient and should improve the care they receive.

Patients using RIDDS would avoid the inconvenience of manual delivery and it could improve compliance for people who may be unable to medicate themselves, such as those with physical disabilities or learning difficulties.

The full research paper can be found here .