MDLinx Survey: What’s Behind the $300 Billion Problem Of Patient Compliance On Prescribed Meds?

October 26, 2011

Physicians cite cost, side effects, forgetfulness as patients’ excuses

WASHINGTON, Oct 26, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — In an MDLinx ( ) survey featured in the current edition of Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine, US physicians detailed the reasons they hear from patients for non-adherence to prescribed medications, a problem which has been identified as costing the US approximately $300 billion annually in unnecessary expenses from hospital stays, lost productivity, and the worsening of chronic conditions.

Stephen Smith, Chief Strategist for MDLinx, says that physician practices typically don’t have the time, tools, or vision to adequately monitor adherence. “In our survey, ninety percent of responding physicians felt the primary responsibility for adherence lies with the patient. But the data doesn’t support that feeling. Physicians relayed that their patients’ reasons for non-compliance focused on cost, side effects, forgetfulness, and ‘feeling better’. Half of these are addressable by the physician.”

Smith says that technology has the potential to support physician efforts to put a big dent in the low adherence challenge. The smart phone, for example, has the power to put reminders, scheduling solutions, and even support from others taking treatment in the patient’s hand, pocket or purse. As a solution to forgetfulness, the impact could be enormous. “Cost and side effects, however, are issues which physicians, insurers, pharma companies, and pharmacists must solve through other means,” Smith said. In the survey of 539 U.S. physicians, 90 percent said the primary responsibility for patients adhering to their medications lies with the patient themselves, with only 8.7 percent claiming the problem as their own. Diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma and hypertension were the conditions identified as the most common for patient non-compliance.

Smith believes a concerted effort by all concerned parties is needed to alleviate the problem. “Employers suffer absenteeism and lost productivity, pharmaceutical companies lose revenue needed to support additional drug research, and insurers suffer the consequences of manageable health issues escalated to hospitalization — a lot of deep pocket parties are having those pockets picked,” said Smith. “We actually have the resources to come together and address this. We just need to do it.”

About MDLinx
MDLinx ( ) is an award-winning, practical medical information tool used by busy physicians and healthcare professionals to stay up to date with the latest research in the medical field. On a daily basis, the company’s physician editors read, rank and sort published data and research from leading news media and more than 1,300 peer-reviewed journals in 35 specialties. MDLinx’s content and services are provided at no charge to member physicians. MDLinx is a web property of M3 USA, , which offers information solutions to healthcare providers and marketing solutions to the pharmaceutical industry.


Greg Jones for MDLinx