Will Convenience of Smart Pills Triumph Ethical Concerns or Will Colonoscopies Win the Day?

Smart pills are electronic devices shaped like tablets that perform extremely vital functions including drug delivery, imaging, and sensing. Smart pills comprise image, pH, chemical, or biosensors. Once ingested, smart pills obtain gastrointestinal information otherwise challenging to obtain and they are distinct from wearable or implantable sensors.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gastrointestinal diseases afflict approximately 70 million Americans annually – requiring uncomfortable and invasive endoscopies. In addition, colonoscopies are performed to detect colorectal cancer. These medical procedures result in internal bleeding or even cause other infections because the same scopes are reused on multiple patients. 

Instant recovery with real-time communication – winning combo of smart pills

Nowadays, patients increasingly prefer minimally invasive procedures that cut a single incision. Geriatrics in particular, are highly susceptible to further complications, making minimally invasive alternatives the need of the hour. Smart pills all but eliminate the need for colonoscopies and endoscopies as wireless communication allows real-time information exchange, and advances in battery technology have made them useful in long-term application within the body. Often, there can be unexplained instances of abdominal pain, iron deficiency, internal bleeding, small intestinal tumors and ulcers, in which case, smart pills fare much better than conventional procedures. Furthermore, smart pills do not have any recovery time as opposed to endoscopies, driving the global smart pills technology market.

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How smart is too smart? Patient concerns hurt smart pills market

Nonetheless, a few challenges do exist in the smart pills technology market. A smart pill is typically excreted from the body within two weeks. However, there is a chance that the pill could get inadvertently lodged in the digestive tract itself. The risk is heightened in individuals with Crohn’s disease, those with a tumor, or with recent surgery that has narrowed their digestive tract. While a CT scan is performed to assess the risk factors beforehand, the smart pill can get stuck in the tract even if the scan results give the go-ahead. This results in bowel obstruction and might necessitate an endoscopy or surgery – defeating the very purpose of the smart pills technology market. In some individuals, smart pills cause skin irritation that needs topical treatment. There can be capsule aspiration, leading to asphyxiation unless immediate extraction is not performed. Patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and brain injury are at especially higher risk. Lastly, the high cost associated with technology advanced devices such as smart pills coupled with patients’ ethical concerns and fears of swallowing microchips restraints the worldwide smart pills technology market.

Can India ever give up its spicy food? Smart pill makers hope not!

North America, and the US therein, are projected to hold the largest share of the global smart pills technology market in the days ahead. A robust healthcare system, high priority and government encouragement for R&D, and the unfortunate prevalence of gastrointestinal ailments is anticipated to boost demand for smart pills in this large market. The US initially led the movement towards non-invasive procedures with others following in its wake. In terms of the long run, companies would be advised to focus their attention on the India smart pills technology market. A combination of spicy unhealthy and fermented food, rising alcohol consumption, and unhygienic sanitary conditions are all responsible for avoidable deaths due to gastrointestinal causes in the subcontinent. The Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journal states that India should move more towards smart pill technology in the period from 2016 to 2026.

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Key players in the smart pills market

Six companies with a significant stake in the smart pills technology market have been sampled in this report. They are Proteus Digital Health, Given Imaging, CapsoVision, IntroMedic, Olympus Corporation, and Chongqing Jinshan Science & Technology Group.

Capsule endoscopy dominates the smart pills market

For the decade analyzed, capsule endoscopy is expected to demonstrate exponential growth as it is a technological innovation that simplifies the diagnosis of gastrointestinal disorders such as colon cancer, bowel diseases, and esophageal ailments. Capsule endoscopy is cementing its place in the smart pills technology market on account of its widespread use in examining the stomach, intestines, and esophagus.


  • What is the market size and growth rate of the global and regional markets by various segments?
  • What is the market size and growth rate of the market for selective countries?
  • Which region or sub-segment is expected to drive the market during the forecast period?
  • What factors are anticipated to impact demand and supply trends in the market during the forecast period? 
  • What factors are likely to drive market revenue growth during the forecast period?
  • What are the key technology and other trends shaping the market?
  • What are the key opportunities in the market?
  • What are some of the strategies implemented by key companies operating in the market?
  • What is the COVID-19 impact on the market?


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