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Meeting the Challenges of Medication Non-Adherence

Medication non-adherence is a serious, widespread issue that impacts clinical outcomes and contributes to rising healthcare costs. Americans are failing to comply with medication prescriptions for a variety of reasons -- and it's costing them anywhere between $100 billion to $289 billion a year.

In fact, 20 – 30 percent of daily prescriptions written are never filled, and as much as 50% of prescriptions written for chronic conditions are not taken as prescribed by the doctors.

Because the patients are not being compliant, they are increasing their chances of experiencing progression in their disease states and having to be rushed to emergency rooms and or having to be hospitalized. By patients being non-compliant with taking their medications, they create major headaches not only for themselves but also the doctors down the line that can sometimes be deadly. Failure of patients not following prescriptions as written causes some 125,000 deaths a year and up to 10 percent of all hospitalizations.

The United States spends $750 Billion a year on wasted health care. Much of this comes from administrative costs and the ordering of unnecessary medical procedures.

As we try to improve ways to better our compliance with our patients, there are many things being introduced to better improve the results.

  • Switching to better packaging: On the consumer level, changing to single dosed Blister Packs or Multi-dose Blister Packs (filled by time of day to take).

  • Having pharmacists get more involved with the reviews of medications with patients, (MTM’s).

  • Telemedicine – or video-conferencing can make a difference for high-cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart failure and heart attack patients.

  • Bringing patient’s health profiles full circle to include the doctor, the patient and the pharmacist so everyone has full access to patient data.

  • Making medications more affordable – Improving drug affordability would help in convincing patients to refill their prescriptions rather than holding off until they can fit it into their budget.

By saving lives, eliminating waste and increasing prescription adherence it is good for the patient and the entire health care industry and the broader economy.

Helping people take their medications (correctly) is still the right thing to do.

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