Review of the literature on the economics of noncompliance. Room for methodological improvement

K.U. Leuven, Centre for Health Services and Nursing Research, Kapucijnenvoer 35, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.
Health Policy (Impact Factor: 1.91). 02/2002; 59(1):65-94. DOI: 10.1016/S0168-8510(01)00178-6
Source: PubMed


Therapeutic noncompliance is a major issue in health care, having important negative consequences for clinical outcome as well as for health-care costs. This paper reviews the literature on the economics of therapeutic noncompliance, identifies methodological shortcomings and formulates recommendations for future economic research in this area. Medication noncompliance was explored more extensively, as the majority of articles dealt exclusively with this aspect of therapy. Eighteen studies were assessed according to their definition and measurement of medication noncompliance, study design, and identification and valuation of costs and outcomes. Very diverse designs and often invalid methods for calculating costs were found. Medication noncompliance is often ill-defined and measured in an inaccurate way. The economic consequences of therapeutic noncompliance have rarely been investigated according to the standard principles of good economic evaluation. Six studies examined both costs and consequences of noncompliance in a cost-outcome description or a cost-benefits, cost-effectiveness or cost-utility analysis. Eight studies dealt with the economic value of compliance-enhancing interventions. In general, studies on the economic consequences of noncompliance lack methodological rigour and fail to meet qualitative standards. There is a clear need for more and better research on the impact of noncompliance, on the cost-effectiveness of interventions and the potential of compliance-enhancing interventions to improve patient outcomes and/or reduce health-care costs.

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    • "Many patients do not take prescribed medication as advised [1]: the World Health Organisation [2] reports that only around 50% of the general population in developed countries are adherent to long-term therapies. Non-adherence can have a negative impact on the efficacy of treatments, patient well-being and the use of scarce healthcare resources [3,4]. The importance of finding ways to increase adherence is highlighted by Haynes and colleagues [5] in a systematic review of adherence interventions: “Increasing the effectiveness of adherence interventions may have a far greater impact on the health of the population than any improvement in specific medical treatments”. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Non-adherence to prescribed medication is a pervasive problem that can incur serious effects on patients’ health outcomes and well-being, and the availability of resources in healthcare systems. This study aimed to develop practical consensus-based policy solutions to address medicines non-adherence for Europe. Methods A four-round Delphi study was conducted. The Delphi Expert Panel comprised 50 participants from 14 countries and was representative of: patient/carers organisations; healthcare providers and professionals; commissioners and policy makers; academics; and industry representatives. Participants engaged in the study remotely, anonymously and electronically. Participants were invited to respond to open questions about the causes, consequences and solutions to medicines non-adherence. Subsequent rounds refined responses, and sought ratings of the relative importance, and operational and political feasibility of each potential solution to medicines non-adherence. Feedback of individual and group responses was provided to participants after each round. Members of the Delphi Expert Panel and members of the research group participated in a consensus meeting upon completion of the Delphi study to discuss and further refine the proposed policy solutions. Results 43 separate policy solutions to medication non-adherence were agreed by the Panel. 25 policy solutions were prioritised based on composite scores for importance, and operational and political feasibility. Prioritised policy solutions focused on interventions for patients, training for healthcare professionals, and actions to support partnership between patients and healthcare professionals. Few solutions concerned actions by governments, healthcare commissioners, or interventions at the system level. Conclusions Consensus about practical actions necessary to address non-adherence to medicines has been developed for Europe. These actions are also applicable to other regions. Prioritised policy solutions for medicines non-adherence offer a benefit to policymakers and healthcare providers seeking to address this multifaceted, complex problem.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · BMC Health Services Research
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    • "Recent evidence has indicated that a significant level of non-adherence is intentional involving deliberate decisions to adjust medication use [7-14]. Various factors have been individually associated with such medication-taking decisions including side effects, perceived drug effectiveness, and cost. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background In spite of the potential impact upon population health and expenditure, interventions promoting medication adherence have been found to be of moderate effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Understanding the relative influence of factors affecting patient medication adherence decisions and the characteristics of individuals associated with variation in adherence will lead to a better understanding of how future interventions should be designed and targeted. This study aims to explore medication-taking decisions that may underpin intentional medication non-adherence behaviour amongst a community sample and the relative importance of medication specific factors and patient background characteristics contributing to those decisions. Methods A discrete choice experiment conducted through a web-enabled online survey was used to estimate the relative importance of eight medication factors (immediate and long-term medication harms and benefits, cost, regimen, symptom severity, alcohol restrictions) on the preference to continue taking a medication. To reflect more closely what usually occurs in practice, non-disease specific medication and health terms were used to mimic decisions across multiple medications and conditions.161 general community participants, matching the national Australian census data (age, gender) were recruited through an online panel provider (participation rate: 10%) in 2010. Results Six of the eight factors (i.e. immediate and long-term medication harms and benefits, cost, and regimen) had a significant influence on medication choice. Patient background characteristics did not improve the model. Respondents with private health insurance appeared less sensitive to cost then those without private health insurance. In general, health outcomes, framed as a side-effect, were found to have a greater influence over adherence than outcomes framed as therapeutic benefits. Conclusions Medication-taking decisions are the subject of rational choices, influenced by the attributes of treatments and potentially amenable to intervention through education, strategic pricing and the altering of dosing characteristics. Understanding individual treatment preferences is thus an important step to improving adherence support provision in practice. Re-framing future interventions and policies to support rational and informed individual patient choices, is the way forward to realising the full potential health and economic benefits from the efficacious use of medications.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · BMC Family Practice
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    • "Medication compliance may be defined as " the extent to which a patient acts in accordance with the prescribed interval and dose of a dosing of regimen " and medication persistence as " the length of time from initiation to discontinuation of therapy " [3]. Both compliance and persistence limit the drug potential benefit and may have significant clinical and economic implications [1] [4]. In particular, non-adherence has been shown to be primarily driven by the issues of persistence [5]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aims to estimate the clinical and economic burden of non-adherence with oral bisphosphonates in osteoporotic patients and the potential cost-effectiveness of adherence-enhancing interventions. A validated Markov microsimulation model estimated costs and outcomes (i.e. the number of fractures and the quality-adjusted life-year (QALY)) for three adherence scenarios: no treatment, real-world adherence and full adherence over 3 years. The real-world adherence scenario employed data from a published observational study. The incremental cost per QALY gained was estimated and compared across the three adherence scenarios. The number of fractures prevented and the QALY gain obtained at real-world adherence levels represented only 38.2% and 40.7% of those expected with full adherence, respectively. The cost per QALY gained of real-world adherence compared with no treatment was estimated at euro 10279, and full adherence was found to be cost-saving compared with real-world adherence. This study suggests that more than half of the potential clinical benefits from oral bisphosphonates in patients with osteoporosis are lost due to poor adherence with treatment. Depending on their cost, interventions with improved adherence to therapy have the potential to be an attractive use of resources.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2010 · Health Policy
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