Drug non-adherence costs $290 billion year

Nov. 3, 2011 at 12:51 AM
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BALTIMORE, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Nearly three out of four Americans do not always take medication as directed, adding $290 billion per year to U.S. healthcare costs, federal officials say.

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin said patient medication non-adherence is a problem that causes more than one-third of medicine-related hospitalizations, nearly 125,000 U.S. deaths each year and adds $290 billion in avoidable costs to the healthcare system annually.

In a multi-year national "Script Your Future" campaign, the surgeon general is encouraging patients with chronic conditions to speak with healthcare professionals about their medications.

The campaign brings area stakeholders in healthcare, business and government together to offer practical tools to help patients better adhere to their medication, and to help healthcare professionals better communicate with patients, Benjamin said.

"Our national challenge is to prevent poor health outcomes and to become a healthy and fit nation. One way is for the healthcare community and patients to come together to address medication non-adherence, which is a major public health problem," Benjamin said in a statement. "Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals can help prevent many serious health complications by initiating conversations with their patients about the importance of taking medication as directed. This is especially important for people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure, who may have a number of medicines to take each day."

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