The New Name of the Game: Adherence - Pharmaceutical Executive

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The New Name of the Game: Adherence
Why Big Pharma can no longer afford to treat patient-adherence programs as an afterthought


Pharmaceutical Executive


The specific causes for noncompliance differ from one therapeutic area to another and from one drug to another. If a pharmaceutical company is to really improve patient compliance and optimize the revenue from a drug, it needs to understand the specific causes of patient noncompliance for its therapy area and specific drug.

The Adherence Toolkit

Obviously, there can be no single panacea for poor adherence. Many approaches to increasing adherence are available. Besides DTC advertising, these include patient education, cost-related approaches, packaging, delivery options and dosing regimens, call center support, Short Messaging Services (SMS), electronic medical records programs, pharmacy interventions, patient-assistance programs, drug-discount and loyalty-card programs, patient-experience programs, involving family members, and training physicians.

Unfortunately, even the best-intentioned patient adherence program is doomed to fail unless pharmaceutical organizations:
  • Evaluate underlying specific causes for noncompliance with their brand to guide the program's implementation
  • Address barriers to implementation
  • Understand the bottom-line return for specific compliance activities.

Adherence to prescribed medications, particularly for long-term therapies, poses a tremendous challenge to the world's pharmaceutical companies. Investigating and understanding the underlying brand-specific reasons for lack of compliance, and developing and implementing adherence-specific DTC and other programs, can help brand managers increase market share and revenues for their brands while significantly improving clinical outcomes for patients.

Dr. Andrée Bates is an author and thought leader in the marketing ROI arena. She can be reached at


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