Article: Think 'outside the pillbox' to improve medication adherence

ALEXANDRIA, Va. An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine underscored the importance of medication adherence and its ability to lower costs and improve the lives of patients.

The article, “Thinking Outside the Pillbox – Medication Adherence as a Priority for Health Care Reform,” noted that more than $100 billion is spent each year on avoidable hospitalizations. The statistic is just the tip of the iceberg, the authors wrote, as the New England Healthcare Institute projected in July 2009 that $290 billion in total annual costs, or 13% of all healthcare expenditures, were caused by poor medication adherence.

“Poor adherence to treatment regimens has long been recognized as a substantial roadblock to achieving better outcomes for patients,” said authors David Cutler, professor of economics at Harvard University, and Wendy Everett, president of the NEHI. “We’ve known for some time that improved adherence can lead to improvements in health outcomes and reductions in healthcare spending.”

The article has received support from pharmacy group the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, which said that the article supports its ongoing campaign to raise awareness of pharmacy's crucial role in medication adherence,  reducing healthcare costs and improving lives.


“Pharmacy plays a critical role in helping patients take the right medications and take them correctly,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “As the face of neighborhood healthcare, pharmacists are uniquely qualified to help patients understand the importance of following their medication regimens properly. Working together, pharmacists and patients can improve healthcare for individuals and for the system overall through reduced costs.”


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