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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Prescriptive Drugs?

Should you care about the patient compliance of your drug? Can you do anything to influence how and whether patients follow the prescribed regimen? According to Thomas Grinnan of MeadWestvaco, the answer to these questions is yes

The issue of non-compliance and poor adherence to drug therapy is not a new challenge to the global pharmaceutical industry, but the extent of the problem is finally being brought to light. Recent recognition of and subsequent studies on the importance of patient compliance are a welcome step in the right direction, and solutions are now coming to market. Addressing the issue of non-compliance requires a unique combination of detailed disease state and drug class information combined with innovative solutions and technology. Packaging can play a strong role in these solutions, due to its relatively low cost, direct access to patients during the regimen and its ability to contain embedded communication to remind and educate.

Given the existing challenges facing the pharmaceutical market (thin pipelines, pricing pressure and litigation, among others), potential solutions to the compliance issue should be effectively and quickly explored. The New York Times referred to non-compliance as ‘the other drug problem’. Some refer to the pharmaceutical industry’s search for new patients as the continuous filling of a bathtub with water, while noncompliance is the unplugged drain hole in the bottom.

WHO SHOULD CARE ABOUT COMPLIANCE?

Brand managers, packaging designers, packaging suppliers and even clinical researchers should all view compliance as a priority. National healthcare organisations, insurance companies and healthcare providers also need to focus on encouraging patients, as these organisations both have an impact on and benefit from patient adherence. It is clear that patient adherence benefits patients, physicians, pharmacies, payer organisations (national healthcare or insurance), employers and pharmaceutical companies. It is one of the few ‘win-win’ challenges facing nearly all healthcare stakeholders, representing a unique opportunity.

The statistics are long and compelling. Poor compliance to prescribed drug regimens accounts for 10 per cent of hospital admissions, 23 per cent of nursing home admissions and as many as 125,000 deaths each year in the US. It also accounts for €75 million in healthcare costs in Europe and $100 million in the US every year.


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Thomas Grinnan is Director of MeadWestvaco Healthcare Packaging Europe, a leading provider of speciality packaging solutions, including pharmaceutical compliance systems and intelligent devices. He has been working in healthcare packaging for more than 16 years. Thomas spent his early career with Markowitz & McNaughton, Inc, where he focused on the life science and healthcare packaging industries. He then joined Mebane Packaging Group, joining Westvaco Corporation in 2000 as Vice President, Business Development, following Westvaco’s acquisition of Mebane. Westvaco Corp and Mead Corp merged in 2001. He holds a BA in Biology and French from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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