With mounting evidence that poor medicine adherence will increase dramatically with the projected
rise in age-related chronic illnesses, the National Council on Patient Information and Education
(NCPIE) – a non-profit coalition of diverse organizations working to improve communication on the
safe and appropriate use of medicines – today released a ten-step Adherence Action Agenda that
places the spotlight on the pervasive and costly problem of poor medicine adherence, particularly
among those age 65 and older with multiple chronic conditions, who are at the greatest risk of
medication errors, drug interactions and costly disease complications.
Issued as a nationwide call to action, the report- Accelerating Progress in Prescription Medicine Adherence: The Adherence Action
finds that poor medicine adherence among patients with chronic and comorbid
conditions is resulting in unnecessary disease progression and disease complications and the
increased use of expensive components of health care, such as emergency room visits,
hospitalizations, avoidable hospital re-admissions and post-acute care.
Coming six years after NCPIE issued the landmark report – Enhancing Prescription Medicine
Adherence: A National Action Plan
– which defined poor medicine adherence as the nation’s
“other drug problem,” the new action plan was developed in collaboration with nearly two dozen
professional societies, voluntary health organizations, consumer and aging organizations,
government agencies and industry leaders and based on evidence that multiple medicine use is
commonplace among older Americans, especially those with multiple chronic conditions: 42% of adults
aged 65 and older took five or more prescription drugs in 2012 with the average number of drugs
prescribed increasing from five at age 65 to seven at age 85.
Intended to accelerate progress in appropriate medicine taking, the new Adherence Action Plan
advocates for an increased focus on the overlooked challenge of multiple chronic conditions, where
the need for patient adherence is most acute, and lays out these ten policy and programmatic
solutions to improve medication adherence.
The Problem: Multiple Chronic Conditions:
Medicine Adherence: The Nation’s “Other Drug Problem”