Using Drugs Safely
Drug research by the pharmaceutical industry contributes truly life-changing benefits to patients worldwide. This progress continues as drugs and treatments still emerge. The industry continues to learn about not only individual drugs but also entire classes of treatments, such as antibiotics, and how they can be used more effectively and safely.
“Compliance” (or “adherence”) is the word often used to mean whether patients take medication as directed. However, surveys have shown that the low level of compliance in America is stunning, with staggering implications for cost. For example, patients who are supposed to take blood pressure medicine, but do not, often unnecessarily wind up in the hospital, a poor outcome in terms of both health and dollars.
- 32 million Americans use three or more medicines daily
- 75% of adults
taking prescription drugs are non-adherent in one or more ways (don’t take
drugs when and how they should, don’t take drugs at all, don’t refill
- $100 billion / year is a bottom line estimate of the cost that non-adherence adds to the healthcare system
- The rate of non-compliance for taking prescription drugs can be 50% or higher, even for certain chronic conditions, such as blood pressure or diabetes that can be managed with drugs – avoiding costly and painful hospitalization
The Importance of Information
We know that medication errors result in huge costs to the healthcare system in the United States. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) identifies poor labeling as a critical reason for those errors. Improving drug labeling is not an academic issue; it is critical to keeping American patients safe.
Studies consistently document that patients want information; information is necessary for involvement in the health care process. The kind of information delivered by Patient Inserts – clear, consistent, and on paper – is a model for what will benefit a patient – our parents, grandparents, and families – the most.