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A Pretty Penny? Medication Noncompliance Costs More

Amanda Stevenson-Grund - Friday, March 20, 2015

Americans are failing to comply with medication prescriptions for a variety of reasons -- and it's costing them anywhere between $100 billion to $289 billion a year.
Viswanathan et al., Annals of Internal Medicine. 2012; 157: p785

A money symbol leans on a first-aid kit 

In the wake of the recession, many Americans plan their purchases around cost-benefit analysis. We ask ourselves, “Is the benefit worth the price?” Such thoughts also influence healthcare choices. Patients and healthcare professionals may think, “I can’t afford to take that step to ensure medication compliance,” but the truth is they can’t afford not to. The cost of medication noncompliance shows financially and physically.

Medication noncompliance financially affects patients and their families, pharmaceutical companies and the health industry. According to AlignMap, patients who do not adhere to their medication plans have three times as many visits to the physician and $2,000 in additional costs per year compared to compliant patients. In the United States alone, noncompliance causes 20% of unwanted pregnancies, which costs $2.6 billion.

Medication noncompliance affects patients’ health in addition to their wallets. “Of the $105 billion wasted due to medication therapy nonadherence in 2012, 69% is spent on hospitalizations,” writes IMS Institute for Health Informatics in its 2013 report. Because noncompliance can lead to disease progression or serious adverse events, patients who do not follow their medication treatment plans can become extremely ill and need more medication and care than compliant patients. A 2002 study found that noncompliance directly caused approximately 66,000 Americans with disabilities to visit a physician or emergency room and 46,000 to be hospitalized. Such events cost more than money and inconvenience. AlignMap writes that the 10%-25% of hospital and nursing-home admissions caused by medication noncompliance result in 340 deaths every day.

Medication noncompliance has negative financial and health consequences. At Orbis Biosciences, we designed our three drug-delivery platforms, UnisunTM, OptimµmTM and StratµmTM, by focusing on the patient, which will reduce medication noncompliance, thereby lowering the high costs that come with it.

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