More than Half of Americans do not Take Prescription Medicines as Instructed Pointing to Growing Public Health Problem

A new omnibus survey released today by the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) and Prescription Solutions, a leading pharmacy benefit management organization and a UnitedHealth Group company and recently appointed to the NCPIE Board of Directors, finds that 54 percent of Americans say they do not consistently take prescriptions as instructed even though 87 percent believe prescription medicines are important to their health pointing to a growing public health problem. Poor adherence to medications the extent to which people take their medications as prescribed by their doctor can have adverse effects on people’s health. It diminishes the ability to treat chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma and many other diseases; and it can result in suffering, an increase in hospitalizations and even death. This and other findings confirm the need for immediate action to address 10 key recommendations made by the NCPIE widely-recognized 2007 report, "Enhancing Prescription Medicine Adherence: A National Action Plan" which include:
  • Immediately implement professional training and increase the funding for professional education on patient medication adherence.
  • Develop a curriculum on medication adherence for use in medical schools and allied health care institutions.
  • Address the barriers to patient adherence for patients with low health literacy.
  • Create the means to share information about best practices in adherence education and management.
Download the Key-Findings Summary and a list of practical adherence-improvement tips for consumers.