Taking your Pills – The befefits of drug adherence

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In order to gain the positive health outcomes associated with prescription medications, patients must take their drugs “as prescribed” – a simple fact, but it is one too many patients ignore. Here is the shocker: according to the World Health Organization, adherence in developed countries like Canada averages just over 50%

Every year medication non-adherence results in:
• 5% of Canadian hospital admissions
• 5% of Physician visits
• Contributes $4 Billion to health care costs
• Contributes to faster disease progression, temporary disability and increase absenteeism
There’s no question that all of these factors – as well as the health and wellbeing of the patient – could be positively affected if more people took their medication as prescribed.

Non-adherence can greatly impact an employee’s health status, benefit plan costs and overall productivity. There are many things you can do as an employer to set your employees up for success. The right information, tools and systems can make all the difference.
• Create your own health literacy outreach program by introducing the topic of disease management in your employee communications throughout the year and providing
links to Association’s websites like the Canadian Diabetes Association
• Consider providing access to onsite health care professionals, or
facilitate access to a general practitioner for employees.
• Using your Intranet or in an email communication, encourage
employees to leverage the knowledge and services offered by
Pharmacists and pharmacy websites as well as mobile apps designed
specifically to help manage taking prescriptions properly.
• Create a directory of Associations that have local chapters and support groups, either on line or in person.
• Often for higher cost products, Patient Assistance Programs (PAP) has been established to provide patient information and support but many patients are not aware of these programs so make sure you highlight PAP’s in your health literacy outreach program. Check to see if your Insurance Carrier has relationships with PAP’s that can be leveraged to support your members
• Tools and Technology – simple packaging like blister packs can help verify which doses are taken. In addition, medication alarm clocks can remind patients when to take their doses. There are several mobile and web apps that can be customized to a patient’s dosage requirements and lifestyle and can direct them to pharmacies with the lowest cost prescriptions for a particular medication.
Author, Jean-Michel Lavoie, B.Pharm., MBA, Director, Pharmaceutical Benefits (edited for content)

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