NCPA Survey on Adherence

I have been talking a lot about adherence lately (or lack of). A friend sent me the results of a survey of 1,000 adults by NCPA (National Community Pharmacy Association) from October 2006. This is now the 3rd study I have read this week with different results. Of course, they all used different channels – web, mail, and phone. And, I am sure that the questions asked were slightly different.

  • While most consumers believe they are highly compliant when it comes to taking their prescription medications (64% said they follow their physician’s instructions “extremely closely”), the survey found they are not as compliant as they believe.
  • Nearly three-fourths (74%) of respondents admitted to non-adherent behaviors in the past.
  • Nearly half (49%) said they had forgotten to take a prescribed medication.
  • Nearly one-third (31%) had not filled a prescription they were given.
  • More than one in 10 (13%) had taken someone else’s prescription medicine.
  • Nearly one-quarter (24%) had taken less than the recommended dosage.
  • Nearly three out of 10 (29%) had stopped taking a medication before the supply ran out.
  • More than one in 10 (11%) substituted an over-the-counter medication instead of filling the prescription they were given.
  • Nearly four out of 10 (38%) had forgotten whether they had taken a medication.
  • Less than half of respondents (48%) said they had consulted their doctor or pharmacist before making these changes.
  • An overwhelming 90% of respondents saw non-adherence as a serious problem.
  • More than eight out of 10 (83%) respondents agree that pharmacists can play a role in improving adherence by helping to make sure patients are taking their prescription medications correctly.
  • More than two-thirds (68%) believe pharmacists are more knowledgeable than other health care professionals when it comes to information about prescription medications.
  • Two-thirds (66%) go to one pharmacy for their prescription medications, which presents an opportunity for pharmacists to advise patients how to take their medications properly.
  • Nearly nine out of 10 (86%) say they would be likely to talk to their pharmacist about their medications.

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