Capgemini: Pharma Must Act Against Patient Noncompliance

Jun 07, 2011

The pharmaceutical industry has been called to action by a new report that highlights the health and cost repercussions of patient noncompliance. According to Capgemini’s report, Patient Adherence: The Next Frontier in Patient Care, patient adherence to medications for chronic conditions, such as HIV and Arthritis, averages at only 50%.

“[A]lmost all chronic conditions face high rates of nonadherence and those with no visible symptoms, such as depression, have the lowest adherence rates. The problem even extends to oral formulation chemotherapy drugs, where one would not expect to encounter patient adherence issues due to the seriousness of the condition. As much as 40% of cancer patients are nonadherent in this case,” says the report.

The report estimates that patient nonadherence to prescribed medicine courses is responsible for 194,500 deaths per year in the European Union (EU) and 131,400 deaths per year in the United States. Nonadherence results in annual costs of close to EUR 125 billion in the EU and $300 billion in the US, according to the report.

The report makes several recommendations to improve patient adherence. However, the report also explains that it is a difficult issue to tackle, even with patient-adherence programs.

“Patient adherence is difficult to address because each situation is specific, based on patient behaviors, or the condition he or she is being treated for,” says the report. “The healthcare system does not have aligned incentives for all stakeholders to monitor and improve treatment adherence. Poor understanding of patient needs and behaviors, insufficient prioritization or siloed approaches can hold back programs helping patients undergo complete, on-time, and at-prescribed-dosage courses of medication.”

One of the recommendations is for the healthcare industry to take advantage of new digital health media tools, such as digitalized patient records and information sharing through the Internet, which will enable healthcare stakeholders to manage information effectively, identify points where adherence ceases, and help create programs to address them.

The pharmaceutical industry has also been urged to take action. The report suggests considering patient adherence early in development as a strategic issue that is part of the product-value proposition.

“The pharmaceutical industry needs to address patient adherence in a more strategic and integrated part of its activities, which will be good for the patients and for the industry overall,” Jean-Marc Neimetz, global leader of the life-sciences practice at Capgemini Consulting, said in a statement.

Thomas Forissier, a principal of the life-sciences practice, Capgemini Consulting, added, “Pharmaceutical companies need to design and deploy programs targeted to the very specific patient situations and leverage both traditional and digital approaches to do so.”