Industry members would likely agree that those patients who are adherent to their prescription medications use less health care and have lower overall costs; however, how much adherence lowers total costs, why some patients do not take their medications as prescribed and whether what’s saved in health care offsets higher drug costs are among the questions that have not been as clearly understood.
To answer such questions, CVS Caremark inked a multiyear collaboration with Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to better understand patient behavior and how the healthcare system can improve it — especially as it relates to medication adherence. Excess healthcare costs due to nonadherence in the United States are estimated to be as much as $300 billion annually. To date, researchers have unearthed a great deal of invaluable data aimed at curbing medication nonadherence. Some highlights appear on the following pages.