A growing number of adults don’t take their medication as prescribed. Known as medication non-adherence, this problem trend costs employers’ valuable resources and time. It might not seem like you can help your employees with the problem of medication non-adherence, but you can. Here’s how:
On its surface, medication adherence is a simple concept to understand. A doctor prescribes medication to a patient, and a patient fills the prescription and takes the entire course of medication as prescribed. But adherence is an issue for many Americans, and whether it’s not filling the medication or not taking it as prescribed, many will fall into the category of medication non-adherence, which can ultimately have a negative impact on their health and well-being.
There have been numerous studies regarding medication adherence, and the results are consistent – Americans frequently abandon their prescriptions. In one study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, nearly 25% of adults never fill their prescriptions at all, while over half don’t take all the medication in their prescription.
Though the most extreme form of medication non-adherence is never filling a prescription, less extreme forms such as not completing a course of antibiotics or cutting doses in half can also be detrimental to a person’s health.
There are many reasons why people don’t take medications as prescribed. Some are concerned about negative side effects. While others simply misunderstand the importance and effect of the medication prescribed. But one of the key reasons patients don’t fill their medication is cost. Whether it is the cost of co-pays or they have been prescribed a medication not covered by their insurance, some patients will not fill their prescription at all or will attempt to cut their doses to try and avoid costly refills.
It stands to reason that not taking medication as prescribed has an adverse effect on the health of the patient. In turn, patients might find themselves with worsening symptoms, repeated illnesses, and even more severe illnesses that require intervention beyond medication. Overall, it is estimated that medication non-adherence costs the healthcare system in the US over $300 billion every year. For employers, this decline in the health and wellness of employees means more sick days, leaves of absences, and reduced productivity in the workplace.
It might seem like medication adherence is a personal problem, one in which you as an employer can have no impact. But the truth is, there are steps you can take to help your employees feel confident in both filling their prescriptions and taking them as directed.
Many simply don’t understand the impact medication non-adherence can have on their health. Through education, you can help your employees gain insight into the effects not taking medication as prescribed can have. Whether it’s through seminars, newsletters, or informational postings, educating employees about the importance of medication adherence is key to addressing many of the most common reasons for non-adherence.
Since cost is a major factor in whether or not someone fills their prescription or takes it as prescribed, as an employer, you can help reduce this cost through your benefits package. By working with a pharmacy benefit manager, you can reduce the cost employees pay for their prescriptions. As an employee-owned company, ProAct can help you develop a completely customized pharmacy benefits plan that works for your company’s specific needs. By mitigating this cost, you will go a long way in helping your employees with medication adherence and ultimately saving valuable time and resources.