Doctors don’t care if patients take their medicine

When SRxA’s Word on Health read the above title from fellow healthcare blogger Lucy Pyne, we were intrigued.

Could this be true?   Citing a 2008 study entitled “Just What the Doctor Ordered,” she argues that physicians don’t consider adherence to be their primary responsibility and seriously underestimate the incidence of non-adherence, often thinking that they are unable to address the issue themselves. Instead, they believe that patients are responsible for their own adherence.

Could this be right? When prescribing new or different medication regimens, physicians spend most of the time explaining the purpose and side effects of the drug and sometimes how to take it. Less, and often no time, is spent on consequences of non-adherence, potential interactions, and refills. And in today’s high-volume pharmacy environment,  busy check-outs, drive-thrus, internet pharmacies and home delivery services in-depth pharmacist-to-patient counseling on the safe use of medication is no longer the norm.

Does it matter anyway? There’s plenty of research out there to show that the average patient forgets about half the information provided 15 minutes after meeting with a doctor. Studies also show that patients remember more about diagnosis than the details of treatment.

Hell, Yeah, it does! As a result patients are not being treated properly and the health industry is losing hundreds of millions in revenue. Adherence does matter, and it needs to matter more. There’s an abundance of reasons why patients don’t adhere to their medication. A fear of it harming rather than helping is particularly common.  No surprise then that the most frequently used health-related Google search term is ‘drug side effects.’ And while much of the information on the Internet is accurate, much of it isn’t, requiring healthcare professionals to rebut false information and deliver accurate instructions.

So, what are the options? According to Pyne, the pharma industry must review its approach to marketing. In order to maximize sales and overcome the dangerous consequences of patient non-adherence, the issue of non-adherence cannot be ignored for much longer.  Something needs to change. The simple truth is, drugs don’t work if patients don’t take them. SRxA can help industry address and solve their adherence problems. We have developed a number of unique programs that not only improve medication usage and prescription refills, but deliver better health and reduced costs. Contact us today to learn more.

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