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Medication Compliance Is a Key Concern for Employers, According to New Survey

Friday, November 20, 2009 General News J E 4
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Unique Survey Takes First-Time Look at Employers' Views and Strategies to Improve Compliance

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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."

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.

The NPC report shows that diabetes is a key focus of medication compliance initiatives. Other conditions garnering high levels of employer attention are high cholesterol, blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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. Employers are often using their vendors to play a key role in analysis and intervention, with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and employee benefit consultants (EBCs) most often cited.

Employers believe that focused and more sophisticated interventions from vendors are the most effective, with the highest ratings coming from those focused on individuals with compliance issues and Value-Based Insurance Design, which enhances compliance by lowering out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions and may provide other means of support, such as disease management programs.

"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 research included a web-based survey of 75 employers, supplemented by 13 in-depth interviews. The survey targeted employee benefit directors, medical directors and other health management professionals with health management and pharmacy benefit decision-making authority or influence in large, self-insured corporations.

The report is available on NPC's website at www.npcnow.org.

About the National Pharmaceutical Council

NPC's overarching mission is to sponsor and conduct scientific analyses of the appropriate use of biopharmaceuticals and the clinical and economic value of innovation. The organization's strategic focus is on evidence-based medicine (EBM) for health care decision-making, to ensure that patients have access to high-quality care. NPC was established in 1953 and is supported by the nation's major research-based pharmaceutical companies. For more information, visit www.npcnow.org.

SOURCE National Pharmaceutical Council
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