A new study featured in the January issue of Health Affairs reaffirms the importance of medication adherence to patients’ health and overall treatment costs. The results of the study indicate that although improved medication adherence by people with four chronic vascular diseases increased pharmacy costs, it also produced substantial medical savings as a result of reductions in hospitalization and emergency department use. Our findings indicate that programs to improve medication adherence are worth consideration by insurers, government payers, and patients, as long as intervention costs do not exceed the estimated health care cost savings.
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Vice President Wes Metheny released the following statement regarding the publication:
“Across all four conditions, total health care costs were significantly lower for adherent patients, even after accounting for an increase in spending on medicines. Specifically, adherence reduced average annual health care spending by $7,823 for patients with congestive heart failure, $3,908 for hypertension, $3,756 for diabetes, and $1,258 in patients with dyslipidemia, according to the article.
“As this study confirms, many of the costs associated with nonadherence to medicines can be avoided; indeed improving patient adherence is one of the best opportunities to achieve better results and greater value from our health care system. Closing the adherence gap is an important component to the success of initiatives to improve the quality of health care in the U.S., encourage better chronic care management and promote better overall health outcomes.”