About 60 percent of all U.S. adults take at least one maintenance prescription drug for a chronic condition. For patients aged 62 to 85, that rises to 87 percent. While modern pharmaceuticals can perform miracles, they only work when you take them. And patient adherence to therapy instructions is a major problem. According to one source, half of all patients do not take their medications as prescribed, leading to nearly $300 billion a year in avoidable healthcare expense.

Smart packaging for pharmaceuticals could play a role in solving this problem. We’ve written about projects by the display manufacture E Ink before, but the company recently released details of a new partnership. Working with HTC Healthcare and the Palladio Group, the company has developed new smart packaging that connects to a smartphone app. The packaging can display a QR code, graphics, as well as text in different languages. The package can connect to other devices using Bluetooth, WiFI, and ZigBee wireless connections. A medication tracking app by HTC  provides real-time consumption tracking, patient health, and prescription refills. Healthcare professionals can access this data to track patient health.

The result is an end-to-end system that monitors adherence and collects useful data to result in better outcomes. The system has particular value for clinical trials in the short term, where patient adherence is especially critical and can non-compliance can greatly increase drug trial costs.