Medication and Treatment Adherence

Chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol impact nearly 70 percent of working-age adults in the U.S.  The New England Healthcare Institute research shows that patients who do not take their medications as prescribed by their doctors cost the U.S. health care system an estimated $290 billion in avoidable medical spending every year.  In addition, a 2012 study conducted by CVS Caremark and Truven Health found that employees with chronic conditions who were adherent to their prescribed medications had up to seven fewer days away from work annually (including absenteeism and short term disability days) than those who were not adherent. This translated into estimated annual savings of up to nearly $1,700 per adherent employee.

In surveys conducted by the National Consumers League, Americans taking prescription medication report that they often fail to adhere to their medicine regimens as instructed by their health care professionals. Those patients who do not take their medicine as directed are less likely to understand the consequences of not adhering and are less convinced of the importance of adherence.

Due to its impact on health, productivity and costs, helping employees understand the value of adherence and providing them with tools to help them take medicines as directed has become a top management objective for most businesses.  In a survey of employers, The Benfield Group found the top strategies employers use to improve medication compliance:

The interventions perceived as most effective in helping employees become engaged in their medication compliance are vendor-targeted interventions that focus resources precisely on identified individuals with compliance issues and incentive-based approaches, so employers should make adherence and compliance communication and programs part of any PBM or health plan contract’s performance guarantees and programs.

An employer’s communications with its workforce should include the campaign’s core messages on the benefits consumers will experience by taking medications as prescribed:

  • Staying healthier and living longer
  • Enjoying greater productivity throughout life
  • Experiencing fewer absences from work
  • Avoiding costly emergency room visits and hospitalizations
    Tips for Encouraging Medication Adherence 

  • Reducing overall health care costs (individual and systemic)
Click here to see more tips on communicating adherence 


 According to MBGH research there are several reasons why individuals fail to adhere  

to medication treatments prescribed by their physicians:

  1. They feel better, so they stop taking the medication.
  2. They don’t like the way the medication makes them feel so they stop taking it.
  3. The drug costs too much.
  4. They forget to take it.
  5. They don’t understand why they are taking the medication to begin with.
  6. They fear dying