One-fourth of new scrips go unfilled

Looking for a marketing opportunity? Here you go: More than a quarter of new prescriptions go unfilled. That's the conclusion of a study of electronic scrips written for 75,589 patients during the first year of two Massachusetts health plans' e-scrip initiative. Published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the research shows that 151,837 of all 195,930 scrips were filled, or 78 percent, while only 58,984 of the 82,245 scrips for new meds were filled, or 72 percent.

Not surprisingly, new prescriptions for children were mostly filled--87 percent. It was the scrips for adults with chronic problems such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes that went unfilled. Only 68.6 percent of diabetes scrips were filled, and the percentages for the other two weren't much higher.

The study didn't look at the reasons why those patients didn't fill their prescriptions. But the researchers speculate that those patients with chronic ills might not see the need for drugs if they have no symptoms. Sounds to us like a chance to educate reluctant consumers.

- read the story in the Los Angeles Times