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September 25, 2006

Improving Medication Adherence: Challenges for Physicians, Payers, and Policy Makers

Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(17):1802-1804. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.17.1802

Much of the gap between recommended and actual levels of chronic disease care is attributable to medication nonadherence.1-3 Medication nonadherence costs an estimated $100 billion a year in the United States and leads to thousands of serious adverse events or deaths each month. Yet, medication nonadherence may often be a rational response to the information patients are given,4 and many factors that drive nonadherence are beyond the control of patients.5 Provocative reports in this issue of the ARCHIVES indicate that physicians, payers, and policy makers may contribute in unfortunate ways to the epidemic of “patient” nonadherence. These reports challenge us to develop new and creative strategies to effectively address the perennial problem of medication nonadherence. Some of the major challenges are presented herein.