WASHINGTON — To raise awareness about the consequences of not taking medication as directed, the National Consumers League (NCL) has launched a public education campaign called Script Your Future.
The medication adherence effort is being supported by donations from nearly 100 professional organizations, health care companies and government agencies, including the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation.
“Poor medication adherence is costing Americans their good health and is costing our nation an estimated $290 billion each year in avoidable health care costs,” NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson says.
NACDS helped fund the Script Your Future initiative with a $1 million donation from its foundation.
“Improved adherence will contribute to lower overall health care costs and increased quality of life,” explains Anderson, who also serves as the foundation’s chairman. “Script Your Future focuses national attention on this issue and helps pharmacists and other health care professionals support consumers in taking their medications as prescribed.”
Researchers say that 75% of people in the United States do not take their prescription medicines properly. “There are many different reasons why people don’t take their medicine as directed, from concerns about side effects to the out-of-pocket costs of prescriptions,” explains NCL executive director Sally Greenberg. “But the consequences for patients are the same. Nonadherence puts patients, especially those with chronic conditions, at risk for serious complications.”
The centerpiece of the Script Your Future is the program’s website, scriptyourfuture.org. The site provides tools to support patient efforts to adhere to their prescribed medication, including free text message reminders, sample questions, medication lists and charts to keep track of medicines, and fact sheets on common chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure.
Scriptyourfuture.org/HCP, a companion site with adherence tools for health care professionals, made its debut in March.
Public health officials say that the nation’s medication adherence problem is one of their biggest concerns.
“Our national challenge is to prevent poor health outcomes and to become a healthy and fit nation,” Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin says. “One way is for the health care community and patients to come together to address the serious issue of medication nonadherence.”
Communication between health care professionals and patients, Benjamin notes, can play a key role in driving up adherence levels.
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