The scheme, launched by the Department of Health in England in 2011, designed to help patients stick to their drug regimens, has been so successful that it will save the Department £ 517.6 million over the long term in the first five years, according to a team of economists. The study was conducted by experts at the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham.
A new free scheme in which pharmacists help patients take new drugs has improved adherence by 10%.
Even in the short term, when pharmacists are paid £ 24.60 each time they take care of a patient as part of a program, this saves £ 75.4 million. The team used data from ten weeks of observations.
The study shows that the new regimen increased patients’ adherence to drugs over conventional practice, resulting in increased health benefits while lowering overall cost. Of the nearly eleven and a half thousand pharmacies in England, 91.2% applied the program to at least one patient between November 2011 and January 2014.
Discontinuation of drugs is common in conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, where only 33% of patients continue to use the drug after ten weeks. In schizophrenia, this figure is 52%, in bronchial asthma – 67%; and diabetes – 78%.
According to previous studies, the cost of the program in England is more than nine hundred and thirty million pounds per year for only five diseases: bronchial asthma, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol / coronary heart disease, hypertension and schizophrenia.
To tackle the problem that leads to a decline in the quality of life, an increase in hospitalizations and premature deaths, the Ministry of Health launched the service six years ago.