Healthcare Advocates Partner to Improve Medication Adherence Rates

An emerging partnership between a diverse group of providers, pharmacies, and other medical professionals is intended to help improve the rates of medication adherence. The coalition involves significant advocates such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS). Other participating companies include Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, and CVS Caremark.

An emerging partnership between a diverse group of providers, pharmacies, and other medical professionals is intended to help improve the rates of medication adherence. The coalition involves significant advocates such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS). Other participating companies include Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, and CVS Caremark.

According to a recent national survey conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, nearly 64 percent of patients who take medication, do not properly adhere to their prescription regimens. Explanations for why some patients fail to properly take their medications include forgetfulness, inconvenience, and avoiding unpleasant side effects. However, the survey also found that more than half of those polled said they would be more likely to take their medications appropriately if they were better informed about the consequences of non-adherence.

“Getting patients to take their medications as prescribed is an intractable problem costing the US $290 billion a year,” Zina Moukheiber, Forbes magazine, reports, “Chronic disease patients, who account for the majority of healthcare costs, risk complications and hospitalization—1out of 3, when they skip their drugs or fail to take them properly.”

Merck, for instance, is teaming up with Geisigner Health System to encourage medication adherence. With permission to use Geisigner’s patient database, Merck can increase their access to consumers, and promote adherence to their drugs in patients with conditions like diabetes. Other organizations, like CVS Caremark, are using technology to send reminders to consumers who take daily prescriptions. As well, CVS can use analytics to identify patients who are more likely to miss taking their medications.

Steven C. Anderson, President and CEO, The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, said his group will play a vital role in the mission of the partnership.

“Polls commissioned by NACDS and by others have shown consistently that community pharmacists are widely trusted and accessible, and that face-to-face interactions with pharmacists are extremely valued, particularly by those in greatest need,” Anderson stated. “Patients know that community pharmacies play a vital role in helping patients use medicines as prescribed and safely, and in helping patients stay healthy.”

Each stakeholder recognizes the role medication adherence has in improving patients’ quality of life. Rebecca Jaffe, MD, MPH, American Academy of Family Physicians Board member, commented that , "As a family physician, I see the negative impact nonadherence has on patients each day. I also see the positive impact that adherence to treatment protocols has and the improved quality of life many individuals experience as a result."

Continued commitment towards building such alliances in the healthcare industry will be important for not only encouraging medication adherence, but controlling costs in many other factors of value-based care.

Around the Web

New Initiative to Improve Medication Adherence Unveiled By Health Care, Consumer, Patient and Industry Leaders [Business Wire]

Merck, CVS Caremark, PhRMA And Others Band Together To Promote Medication Adherence [Forbes]

NACDS Joins “Partnership for Advancing Medication Adherence” [NACDS]

Poor Medication Adherence Rates Prompt Formation of Broad-Based Coalition [AAFP]