The diabetes drug arena is getting more crowded by the day as new classes of drugs like SGLT-2 inhibitors and GLP-1 analogs seem to be getting approved at a quick pace. In addition there are classes of drugs that are in phase 2 and 3 trials that we have yet to think or hear about. We are even hearing about drugs tailored to work for patients with a specific genetic variation.
But for all these new care solutions that we have, there is a problem that keeps our patients from getting to their goals and that problem is Medication Adherence.
According to a working group assembled by the NACDS Foundation, the Pharmacy Quality Alliance, and NEHI, the U.S. health care system must address the problem of patients not picking up newly prescribed medicines if national goals for improved health and reduced costs of medical care will be realized. According to information in Ready for Pick Up: Reducing Primary Medication Non-Adherence — A New Prescription for Health Care Improvement, a white paper issued by the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI), if we don’t find a way to reduce the problem of prescriptions for newly initiated therapy that are not picked up for the first time and thus never taken, we will never reach health care goals and this will likely lead to worse patient health and increased stress on the healthcare system. This information parallels another study that indicates that most patients are taking their diabetes medications less that 60% of the prescribed times per day and often discontinue all medication therapy within 9 years of diagnosis.
To help ensure that your patients start on their medications, I urge you to add a note to your electronic prescribing system asking the pharmacist to notify you if the patient does not pick up their prescription.
Dave Joffe, Editor-in-chief