Even Doctors Doubt Patients’ Medication Compliance

Source: Medication adherence in America: A national report 2013. National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) June 25, 2013.
Source: Medication adherence in America: A national report 2013. National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) June 25, 2013.

  
Patient medication compliance numbers remain so disappointingly low that even, it seems, doctors assume that their own patients won’t follow medication directions. In a new survey this year by DoctorDirectory.com, the vast majority of physicians (95 percent) think that fewer than 30 percent of their patients are fully compliant with taking their medications.

That’s an awfully low expectation for patient compliance. Yet it’s clear that medication compliance correlates strongly with treatment outcomes. Despite this, the World Health Organization estimates that only about 50 percent of patients take their medications as prescribed – with “non-compliers” found in all demographics (e.g., gender, age, income, and education level).

In a recent survey from the National Community Pharmacists Association, three out of four adults have at least one non-adherent behavior over the course of a year, such as: failing to fill a prescription, not refilling a prescription, missing a dose, taking a lower or higher dose than prescribed, discontinuing medication, taking someone else’s prescription, or forgetting whether they took a medication.

If the doctors in the DoctorDirectory.com survey are right: that 70 percent of patients aren’t making the grade as compliant with their treatment plans, then there’s clearly a lot of room for improvement. A team approach to medical care can help, with the patient, physician, and pharmacy working to ensure compliance. At BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy, we offer the partnership of tracking patient compliance and providing early and frequent feedback to the physician so the treatment plan can stay on track. Early course corrections are more successful.

As a team, patient compliance can improve. I know this is true; I’ve seen it happen with the patients at our specialty pharmacy.
  

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What do you think

I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section below.

Stephen C Vogt, PharmD
President and CEO
BioPlus SP

www.bioplusrx.com

Sources:
Medication adherence in America: A national report 2013. National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) June 25, 2013.
 
Press release. Patient compliance rated low by physicians according to a new DoctorDirectory.com survey. September 23, 2013.
 

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