Prescriptions Never Picked Up At Pharmacy: Reducing Primary Medication Nonadherence

“Ready for Pick Up: Reducing Primary Medication Non-Adherence – A New Prescription for Health Care Improvement,” outlines the problem of prescriptions for newly-initiated therapy that are not picked up for the first time and, thus, never taken, leading to the possibility of worse health and increased stress on the health care system. The rate of primary non-adherence (PMN), that is, the percentage of first-time prescriptions abandoned by patients (and thus not picked up at pharmacies), can range as high as 30 percent among some classes of medication, according to recent research. A May 2014 working group convened by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation, the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA), and NEHI framed the issues outlined in the paper. The paper addresses key issues in the adoption and utilization of a new pharmacy quality metric on primary medication non-adherence endorsed by the Pharmacy Quality Alliance in November 2013. Prior to the advent of e-prescribing, tracking PMN rates was not feasible. Current adherence policy focuses on patients who have received their therapies at least once – because these patients trigger payment claims processing that allows medication adherence to be tracked. The report makes eight recommendations that stakeholders, from physicians and pharmacists to insurers and health plans, could do to understand and attack the problem, including pharmacist interventions with non-adherent patients. High on the list: more dialogue among health care payers, the physician community and the pharmacy industry to establish common ground for action.