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Experts to Assess Impacts and Policy Barriers to Improving Proper Medication Adherence

Conference Led by John Iglehart to Inform Policy Recommendations that Improve Adherence and Patient Health

WASHINGTON, July 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Health reform may succeed in creating better coverage and access for Americans, but until we reduce the barriers to proper medication adherence, many patients will not experience improved health, according to experts meeting today to discuss the challenges of adherence.

Although the evidence on poor adherence has garnered the attention of some policymakers, the group of experts -- brought together by GlaxoSmithKline, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation, the National Consumer's League and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America -- believes much work remains to develop sound policy and public education strategies to address the problem. Today's results-oriented conference will open the dialogue about adherence with a cross-sector panel of experts from the business, insurance, employer, health, medical, academic and government sectors.

"To date, medication adherence hasn't been a prominent part of the debate. But no matter what shape health reform takes, it will ultimately be more successful if it supports the education and motivation of patients to properly follow their medication regimens," said John Iglehart, founding editor of Health Affairs and conference moderator. "Today's attendees have witnessed first-hand the many factors that can impact medication adherence, and I look forward to learning from their perspectives."

To inform their discussion, participants will receive briefings on two new research efforts on medication adherence, conducted separately by Avalere Health and the RAND Corporation. The insights from these studies will provide a framework to help guide the creation of policy and public education recommendations that can enhance or complement health policy reforms currently underway.

Research shows that as many as 80 percent of patients may not be adhering to their medication regimens, resulting in negative consequences for patients, the health care system and society as a whole. In addition, past studies have found that poor adherence drains precious health care dollars from the system -- an estimated $100 billion to $300 billion annually -- and results in the significant worsening of disease and death.

RAND researchers performed a systematic review of the non-cost related barriers to medication adherence and will discuss some preliminary results of their review.

Participants at today's conference will also hear from Avalere Health about highlights from on-the-ground efforts that are aiming to improve adherence and could serve as model programs in the future. Key components of these programs include a focus on improving each individual patient's medication regimen, as well as incorporating a one-to-one approach to identifying and addressing the many patient behaviors, attitudes and other barriers that lead to low adherence.

"Adherence goes beyond personal responsibility," says Miryam Frieder of Avalere Health. "Multiple factors contribute to low medication adherence, including a person's understanding of their condition and the importance of taking medications, cost, side effects, personal beliefs, and complexity of the drug regimen. Our research points to strategies to reduce these obstacles, whether they exist in the health delivery system, in the patient's home, or because of a specific factor related to their medication."

Following the research presentations, participants will engage in panel discussions, designed to address the role of adherence in some of the most discussed aspects in the health reform debate. Among the topics to be tackled will be opportunities to improve adherence in chronic care delivery, for example, through the medical home model. Panelists also will examine implications for other hot button issues, such as payment reform, benefit design, medical information technology, and patient-provider communication.

"The health care reform debate has intensified in recent weeks, and sometimes it becomes difficult to see exactly where the patient fits into the discussion," said Iglehart. "But you can't focus on adherence without focusing on patients. Through today's efforts, we aim to bring medication adherence into the forefront to improve America's health and America's health system."

Today's conference was funded by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, GlaxoSmithKline, and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation; and convened by the listed organizations along with the National Consumers League.

About the Convening Organizations

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.

The National Consumers League is a private, nonprofit advocacy group representing consumers on marketplace and workplace issues. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. NCL, the nation's oldest consumer organization, provides government, businesses, and other organizations with the consumer's perspective on concerns including child labor, privacy, food safety, and medication information.

GlaxoSmithKline -- one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies -- is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information please visit

The NACDS Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit charitable organization that serves as the education, research and charitable affiliate of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. The NACDS Foundation supports programs that seek to advance and improve patient care through community pharmacy. Among its activities, the Foundation provides scholarships for pharmacy students and supports pharmacy education programs that address the patient needs of community pharmacy practice. Additionally, the Foundation supports research efforts to advance community pharmacy's ability to enhance patient care services in their neighborhoods and the health care system at large, as well as addressing effective and safe use of medicines. For more information visit

    Contact: Tom Murphy
    Phone:   202-609-6005

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