Adherence Through Education

Aug 01, 2010

There is no question that a large number of patients do not adhere to their treatment regimens. Whether they ignore their doctor's orders and don't fill their prescriptions, refuse to pick up prescription orders at the pharmacy, or just don't continue on their medication, the fact is nonadherence is a huge problem for the pharmaceutical industry and all parties with ties to the healthcare system.

"People always said that medication nonadherence was a $100 billion weight on our healthcare system," explains Elizabeth Oyekan, area pharmacy director for the Kaiser South Bay Medical Center. "But as of five years ago, that number literally tripled, and in the literature you'll see that it is anywhere from $177 billion to about $300 billion."

The problem is so deep that all stakeholders in the healthcare industry are struggling to figure out what to do. Pharma companies are hindered, because patients feel their adherence programs are too promotional; physicians complain that they don't have enough time to meet with patients, let alone sign them up for compliance programs; and payers are frustrated because patients that start and stop medications are likely to cost more in the long run, especially if their non-compliance puts them in the emergency room.

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