32 million Americans use three or more medicines daily
75% of adults are non-adherent in one or more ways
The economic impact of non-adherence is estimated to cost $100 billion annually
The average adherence rate (the degree to which patients correctly follow prescription instructions) for medicines taken only once daily is nearly 80 percent, compared to about 50 percent for treatments that must be taken 4 times a day. As many as 75 percent of patients (and 50 percent of chronically ill patients) fail to adhere to, or comply with physician prescribed treatment regimens.
In a recent poll of U.S. individuals 65 years old and older who use medications, researches found that 51% take at least five different prescription drugs regularly, and one in four take between 10 and 19 pills each day. 57% of those polled admit that they forget to take their medications. Among those using five or more medications, 63% say they forget doses, compared to 51% among those who take fewer medicines. (10)
Drugs don't work in patients who don't take them
C. Everett Koop, MD
Remembering to take your medicine is the key to compliance. Medicine will be effective only when taken as prescribed by your physician. Professional Info
Get Medsmart: Despite the fact that medications can save or extend lives, the average patient fails to follow her/his pill prescription half the time.
The reasons behind this failure are varied; ranging from simple forgetfulness to confusion to ambivalence, but the problem costs an estimated $290 billion in emergency-room visits and other avoidable medical expenses in the United States (11).
Studies have shown than non-compliance causes 125,000 deaths annually in the US (2), leads to 10 to 25 percent of hospital and nursing home admissions, and is becoming an international epidemic. It is, in the words of The New York Times (1) the world’s "other drug problem".
Negative Economic Effects of Non-Compliance
· 23% of nursing home admissions due to noncompliance(3).
Cost $31.3 billion / 380,000 patients.
· 10% of hospital admissions due to noncompliance (4,5). Cost $15.2 billion / 3.5 million patients.
· About 50% of the 2 billion prescriptions filled each year are not taken correctly (7).
· 1/3 of patients take all their medicine, 1/3 take some, 1/3 don't take any at all (Rx prescription never filled) (6).
· 25,000,000 nonprofessional caregivers in the US (8).
· 80% of nonprofessional caregivers are women (8).
· 80%-90% of people requiring care in the US receive it from family members or friends (9).
1. The New York Times June 2, 1998
2. Smith, D., Compliance Packaging: A Patient Education Tool, American
Pharmacy, Vol. NS29, No 2 February 1989
3. Standberg, L.R., Drugs as a Reason for Nursing Home Admissions, American Health care Association Journal, 10,20 (1984).
4. Schering Report IX The Forgetful Patient: The High Cost of Improper Patient Compliance.
5. Oregon Department of Human Resources, A study of Long-Term Care in Oregon with Emphasis on the Elderly March 1981.
6. Hayes, R.B.NCPIE Prescription Month, October 1989
7. National Council for Patient Information and Education.
8. Rosalynn Carter Institute of Georgia Southwestern College.
9. Parade Magazine, 1/29/95.
10. Med Ad News February 2010
11. New England Healthcare Institute
e-pill Medication Reminders is Boston based medical device company. Since 1999 e-pill timers, alarm watches, pill boxes with alarms and pill dispensers have helped patients around the world remember to take medications on time (improve medication adherence / patient compliance).