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Survey shows improper medication use reaching crisis proportions

Physician Practice Advisor, December 20, 2006

Nearly 75% of consumers admit they do not always take their prescription medications as directed, according to a survey conducted by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). The economic impact of patient nonadherence has been estimated at $100 billion annually in increased hospitalizations, doctor visits, lab tests, and nursing home admissions, according to a release from the NCPA.

Key findings of the survey include the following:

  • 49% said they had forgotten to take a prescribed medication
  • 31% had not filled a prescription they were given
  • 24% had taken less than the recommended dosage
  • 11% had substituted an over-the-counter medication instead of filling the prescription they were given

"These findings are very disturbing," said Bruce Roberts NCPA executive vice president and CEO, in a statement. "They suggest that patients aren't fully aware of the implications of not taking the right dose of medicine at the right time. Even more surprising, fewer than half indicated they had consulted their doctor or pharmacist before making these changes."

To read the full NCPA press release, click here.