Americans earning subpar grades for medication adherence

June 25, 2013

When it comes to taking medication properly, Americans 40 and older with chronic medical conditions, on average, earn a C+, according to a patient survey commissioned by the National Community Pharmacists Association.

When it comes to taking medication properly, Americans 40 and older with chronic medical conditions, on average, earn a C+, according to a patient survey commissioned by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

The survey, Medication Adherence in America: A National Report Card, surveyed 1,020 adults age 40 and older with prescriptions for chronic medical conditions. Patients were graded based on their responses to 9 questions regarding medication adherence.

One in 7 adults surveyed received an F. One third of all respondents received either a D or an F.

“The academic year has drawn to a close for most students, but when it comes to taking their prescription drugs, it’s many of the parents who may require summer school,” said NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. “Proper prescription drug use can improve patient health outcomes and lower healthcare costs, so anything less than an A on medication adherence is concerning.”

According to the survey, the biggest predictor of medication adherence was the patients’ connection to a pharmacist or pharmacy staff. Others factors included affordability of medications, continuity in healthcare usage, and medication side effects.

“Caregivers are a vital resource for improving the national grade on proper prescription use,” said Paul DelPonte, director of programs, operations and development for the National Alliance for Caregiving, which focuses on family caregiving research. “Enhanced community partnerships and increased awareness on proper use of medications will make our nation healthier. This study by [NCPA] helps raise awareness of the issues facing caregivers and patients. It’s time to improve this grade.”

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