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U.S. could save $300 billion if patients took drugs correctly

June 29, 2013 at 1:15 PM
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ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 29 (UPI) -- U.S adults age 40 and older with a chronic condition earn a C-plus on average for taking their medications properly, while many fail, a pharmacists group said.

The National Community Pharmacists Association -- which represents pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent pharmacies -- said proper prescription drug use can improve patient health outcomes and lower healthcare costs, so anything less than an A on medication adherence is a concern.

The report card said 1-in-7 U.S. adults with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease -- the equivalent of more than 10 million adults -- received an F grade.

Collectively, one-third of overall respondents received either a D or F, the report card said.

The biggest predictor of medication adherence was the patients' personal connection -- or lack of connection -- with a pharmacist or pharmacy staff, the report said.

A 2009 estimate by the New England Healthcare Institute found non-adherence can threaten patients' health individually and add $290 billion annually in healthcare costs.

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