Patient Adherence


Detailed report available on NICE's proposals for value based assessment of health technologies

Value Based Assessment
In its 2009 clinical guideline “Medicines adherence — involving patients in decisions about prescribed medicines and supporting adherence”, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence concluded that “between a third and a half of all medicines prescribed for long-term conditions are not taken as recommended”.

The effect of this on patient care is potentially massive and the financial costs of poor adherence are staggering. NICE estimated that £4bn of medicines are not used correctly, which could result in between £36m and £196m worth of preventable hospital admissions.

Patient adherence is a complex issue with a range of causes and there is no “magic bullet” to address it. For some people the cause of poor adherence will be unintentional due to forgetfulness, not fully understanding the dose regimen or physical difficulties accessing their medicines. For others, it involves a conscious decision not to take their medicines.

The reasons for this are often complex and include whether people believe they need a medicine, concerns about side effects or dependence, an unwillingness to accept that they are ill, etc.

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