How to Reduce Medication Nonadherence Costs for Pharma

By Jacob Vazquez | June 1, 2020

Medication nonadherence costs the pharmaceutical industry an estimated $250 billion annually – here’s a solution.

It has been estimated that as many as 3 out of 4 Americans may not be taking their medications correctly.

Reasons include forgetfulness, lack of confidence in the drugs’ usefulness, side effect tolerance, difficulties with delivery methods, logistics and cost concerns. This is particularly true for patients undergoing advanced, complex drug treatments such as custom monoclonal antibodies, HIV regimens and cystic fibrosis therapy.

Roughly 125,000 unnecessary deaths occur each year in the United States because patients don’t follow their treatment protocols. Nonadherence is also very costly, from a financial perspective.

Medication nonadherence costs the US healthcare system $300 billion annually. On the pharmaceutical revenue side, the impact of nonadherence costs the industry an estimated $250 billion annually in potential revenue – in the US alone. This represents 37% of the US annual total potential revenue.

Patient holding medication.

The critical importance of medication adherence is especially true for certain disease states and conditions where noncompliance can lead to resistance, tissue rejection, and even morbidity. These include HIV, post-transplant, and oncology patients.

Adherence, via taking medications every day, prevents HIV from multiplying, which reduces the risk that the disease will mutate and produce drug-resistant HIV. Missing doses of transplant medications can cause tissue rejection.

According to a 2016 report, of 418 oncology patients, 10% stopped taking their medications, 7% never filled their prescriptions, and 9% did not regularly fill their prescriptions.

Given the impact of nonadherence for cancer patients, the outcome can be dire.

Among the numerous barriers to medication adherence mentioned earlier are system-level barriers that make it difficult for patients to get medications in their homes. Many specialty medications require prior authorization that consists of extensive paperwork. This can delay the distribution of needed treatments for patients.

Doctor holding pills in one hand and water in the other for patients to take.

In addition, many specialty therapies are expensive, even for patients with medical insurance. And because many are used to treat relatively rare conditions, patients may need to travel far distances to receive care – making it difficult to get support from providers.

To address this issue, the healthcare system has typically used an unsophisticated range of tactics to encourage adherence. Examples include warning patients regarding the consequences of straying from treatment protocols, scheduling follow-up consultations and sending other automated reminders via phone, text and email.

Such approaches, which addresses all patients equally, is proving ineffective based on the research above.

To have a significant impact on patient adherence, pharmaceutical companies can mirror efforts from other business sectors by offering a better customer experience… a better Patient Journey.  

There is no doubt that patients undergoing high-end, customized treatments need special concierge care. A holistic solution that manages patient services in an easy, intuitive manner, much like a guest concierge or personal assistant, is just what the doctor ordered. This is possible with PatientJourney360.

Doctor holding medication for patient

P360’s PatientJourney360 is a complete patient lifecycle management solution that handles everything from the first enrollment call to patient therapy adherence. Patients undergoing customized medicine will have their needs taken care of, from start to finish, ensuring success – because we all need a little help sometimes.

PatientJourney360 includes an integrated Call Center with Unified Service Desk, which provides case managers with all the information they need, and helpful resources, at their fingertips. The solution also helps pharmaceutical commercial organizations manage patient demographics, HCP and hospital affiliations, milestones and adherence, adverse events, financial assistance management – and even transportation.

Built for the life sciences industry, PatientJourney360 is a complete solution to manage patient lifecycle on custom treatments that demand high engagement, customization, and complex logistics – where patient adherence is of utmost importance.

Doctor telling patient how much to take of the medicine

Taking medication correctly may seem like a simple or personal matter, but non-adherence is a complicated and common problem. People do not realize the real damage or consequences of non-adherence. When patients with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease do not take medication as directed, the repercussions can be costly and severe.

As noted earlier, poor medication adherence takes the lives of 125,000 Americans annually, and costs the healthcare system nearly $300 billion a year in additional doctor visits, emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

A better patient journey is worth the investment.

To learn more about our patient lifecycle management solution and how we can help increase adherence, click below to chat with one of our experts for free.