If patients just took their meds as directed, pharma sales would grow significantly. That's why drugmakers have been trying all sorts of ways to remind folks to take their pills: mailings from the pharmacy, emails, you name it.
Maybe the government should join in on the compliance push. After all, cutting healthcare costs is one of the big aims of the U.S. reform push right now. And a new study shows that medication compliance could save the U.S. $290 billion a year, or 13 percent of total healthcare costs. That's because so many of today's drugs address chronic conditions and, ironically, people with chronic illness are worst at taking their meds. And by skipping drugs, chronically ill folks experience complications that then have to be treated, often in the hospital.
For instance, PharmaTimes reports, diabetics who don't take their meds as directed have almost twice the total annual healthcare costs as those who do, at $16,498 compared with $8,886. Considering how many people have diabetes in the U.S., that difference could total quite a sum.