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Using Artificial Intelligence To Keep Drugs Safe

Xavier University is hosting pharmaceutical and computer companies Thursday and Friday for a conference that will focus on artificial intelligence (AI).

AI may be key in preventing contaminated drugs, according to the Director of Xavier Health Marla Phillips. "It can recognize connections from data that might seem irrelevant to a human and identify that it is producing a signal that could lead to a flawed product. Humans would otherwise let it go undetected."

Phillips points to the 2008 case of contaminated heparin. The injectable anticoagulant killed 81 people.

She says with the right sources fed into computer systems the heparin contamination may have been able to predict a problem with the drug before there was a problem.

Representatives from the FDA, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly & Co., Abbott, Dell and IBM Watson Health will be among the speakers at Xavier's summit.

Phillips says teams will form out of the meeting that will work throughout the year to develop solutions to present at next year's summit.

She says not all drug companies will utilize artificial intelligence but the goal is to determine what information is needed to help drug companies make and keep their prescriptions safe.

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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.