More employers are taking steps to improve their employees’ health by making sure they take their medicines as prescribed, a move that could stave off more serious and costly health consequences, according to a new report sponsored by the National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC).
Medication compliance, sometimes referred to as medication adherence, is simply following a medicine treatment plan developed by an individual’s health care provider, filling prescriptions, and taking medications as prescribed.
And the NPC report, “Employer Medication Compliance Initiatives,” which for the first time surveyed employers’ views and strategies on compliance, says 89% of employers acknowledge its importance to employee health. Only preventive care and lifestyle behaviors were rated more highly.
“It’s well documented that people with chronic diseases who take their medications as prescribed are healthier and more productive,” said NPC President Dan Leonard. “This report shows that employers are actively taking steps to encourage medication compliance to help improve the health and well-being of employees and their families.”
Lack of medication compliance costs billions
Medication compliance has long been acknowledged as a serious problem for the American health care system, costing billions of dollars in lost productivity, additional doctor visits, preventable hospitalizations and nursing home admissions, and even premature death.
95% of employers surveyed for the report say they are taking some sort of action to address compliance, and the trend is toward more sophisticated interventions that focus education and support resources on individuals who are not adhering to their prescribed treatments.
“Results of the survey are very consistent with broader trends we’re seeing among large, self-insured employers,” said Chuck Reynolds, Principal of The Benfield Group, the firm NPC engaged to complete the research. “Employers believe they’ve just about reached the limit on what they can do with tactical benefit controls to manage costs, and are focusing more and more on wellness, prevention and effective management of diseases and conditions.”
The report is available on NPC’s website at www.npcnow.org.