Express Scripts Breaks Down the High Cost of Medication Nonadherence

More than half of patients in numerous disease states are nonadherent to their medications and 30% of patients do not fill their prescriptions.

Medication nonadherence not only proves to have poor outcomes on the patient, but also becomes costly for the healthcare industry when patients decide not to refill or skip their medication dosages. Researchers found that about $1 to every $9 spent per person for healthcare in 2013 was wasted—total healthcare spending averaged out to be about $9255 per person.

Express Scripts recently released a white paper detailing the costs and impacts of medication nonadherence, discovering that more than half of patients in numerous disease states are nonadherent to their medications and 30% of patients do not fill their prescriptions.

In addition, 69% of patients were not taking their medications as prescribed because of behavioral issues, like forgetfulness or procrastination, or were confused about complicated dosing schedules for multiple medication regimes.

The final group of patients chalked their nonadherence up to costs. Nearly 30% of Medicare Advantage plan enrollees were concerned with prescription costs as they believed to shoulder much of the expenses.

Researchers with Express Scripts emphasized the importance of taking proactive initiatives in regards to medication adherence instead of reactive measures.

“Early identification of these patients paves the way for successful interventions before significant problems arise,” Heather Sundar, PharmD, vice president of Customer, Clinical and Strategic Solutions at Express Scripts, wrote in a blog post. “The key to this approach is reaching out to patients before they are late to fill a prescription.”

The Express Scripts white paper proposes multiple solutions. The first takes predictive analytics to identify patients who may be at risk for medication nonadherence. The second compiles a sort of resource guide to provide personalized intervention models as a way to keep the patients on track. The resources guide is specific to 20 different conditions.

The white paper researchers also studied home delivery models and found that this method increases adherence by 19% making it another viable solution to adherence.

When medication nonadherence is growing as fast as it is, researchers emphasize the importance of proactive patient outreach and encouragement when it comes to various medication therapies.