$1.9 billion savings for Australia uncovered in new study
Research from UTS Pharmacy quantifies the cost of medication non-adherence in an Australian-first.
New research from the Graduate School of Health has revealed an annual $1.9 billion in cost savings for the Australian health care system as part of a study on pharmacist-led medication adherence interventions.
Across three prevalent conditions – hypertension, dyslipidaemia and depression – the results found the national cost of medication non-adherence was $10.4 billion, equating to $517 per adult.
The study titled ‘Pharmacist-led medication non-adherence intervention: reducing the economic burden placed on the Australian health care system’ led by Pharmacy PhD candidate Rachelle Cutler calls on policy and decision makers to increase funding to combat the economic cost of non-adherence.
We know that medication non-adherence is a huge issue in Australia, but we did not expect the burden to be this significant.
Lecturer and PhD candidate, Pharmacy
“We know that medication non-adherence is a huge issue in Australia, but we did not expect the burden to be this significant,” says Cutler.
“What is more surprising is the positive economic effect pharmacists can have on reducing the non-adherence burden.”
Based on data of 20,335 de-identified patients using the medications rosuvastatin, irbesartan or desvenlafaxine, pharmacist intervention improved medication adherence by 9.3 per cent - from 52.3 per cent at baseline to 61.6 per cent over 12 months.
The study aimed to quantify the cost of medication non-adherence in Australia and examine the impact pharmacist intervention had at reducing this economic burden. Currently, no estimate of the economic burden medication non-adherence has on the Australian health care system exists.
“Pharmacists are ideally placed within the healthcare system to deliver adherence interventions” says Cutler. “They are at the frontline of interaction with patients, especially medication related interactions. Pharmacists can assess each individual situation and determine what the best intervention is moving forward to improve the patient’s adherence.”
Next, the team hopes to test these findings through recruitment of patients and using actual costing figures in relation to the Medical Benefits Scheme and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data to quantify a definitive cost not based on modelling techniques. They are also are looking at which type of pharmacist intervention works best to enhance patient adherence.
“It is imperative that we start looking at funding models to support pharmacist’s intervention. One such example is pharmacist provided adherence interventions.”
Find out more about the Graduate School of Health’s Pharmacy research.