Thursday, September 17, 2015

The cost of not taking meds as prescribed: $330 billion - MarketWatch

Being married helps men, but not women, take their medicines as prescribed. People with children in the home tend to adhere less to their medication regimes than those without dependents underfoot.

Pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts has collected these and other data points to predict ahead of time which patients are less likely to take their medications as prescribed, in a bid to improve health and save money. Prescription non-adherence costs the country roughly $330 billion a year in unnecessary medical complications, Express Scripts estimates. While people sometimes scrimp on medications to save money, this can lead to bigger health problems with bigger price tags, like a trip to the emergency room.

The Express Scripts 2014 Drug Trend Report breaks down adherence by ailment, and the numbers are startling: 29% of high cholesterol patients don't take medications as prescribed, versus 39% of diabetics and 55% of adults with asthma. It's a complex issue, with "plenty of blame to go around," said Albert Wu, a practicing physician and the director of the Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Doctors, pharmacists, family members, health insurance carriers and others all have a role in helping patients follow the doctor's orders.

Below are some common reasons why patients don't take their medications as prescribed, and strategies for coping with them.

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