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Employer Update | December 2015
Employer Update | December 2015

The Danger of Missed Medication

One-third of all American adults take five or more prescription medications a day. Yet more than 60% of prescriptions are not taken properly, regardless of the age of the patient, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Whether medicine is for a short-term illness or a chronic disease such as asthma, taking medicine as prescribed or “medication adherence” is important.  

Problems that can occur when medicines are not taken properly include poor health outcomes, increased hospitalization, higher costs, and decreased quality of life. Medication safety errors can sometimes lead to death, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, the CDC explains that 25% of the deaths from serious medication problems are preventable.

Why Don’t People Take Medicine Properly?

Sometimes people simply forget to take their medications. Other times, they might not like the side effects, think the medicine is too costly or have difficulties getting the prescription filled.

Savings Example: Diabetes Drugs

According to Medical Care vol. 43, no. 6, a journal of the American Public Health Association, diabetes patients who do not comply with their prescribed treatments have average annual medical and prescription costs that are nearly double those who are compliant. The higher costs are often linked to hospitalization and emergency room use.

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