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“Over the past few decades,” the WHO said in its landmark 2003 report ‘Adherence to long-term therapies: Evidence for action’, “we have witnessed several phases in the development of approaches aimed at ensuring that patients continue therapy for chronic conditions for long periods of time. Initially, the patient was thought to be the source of the ‘problem of compliance.’ Later, the role of the providers was also addressed. Now we acknowledge that a systems approach is required. The idea of compliance is associated too closely with blame, be it of providers or patients, and the concept of adherence is a better way of capturing the dynamic and complex changes required of many players over long periods to maintain optimal health in people with chronic diseases.”

Research indicates that a patient’s improved medication adherence is directly linked to favourable treatment results for a variety of chronic conditions, including multiple sclerosis and diabetes. Yet patient compliance with chronic medication therapies is remarkably low – the WHO estimates it to be at 50% internationally (1). Noncompliance leads to poor clinical outcomes, lost revenue for pharmaceutical companies worldwide, and increased costs for many healthcare financial stakeholders – including patients themselves.

For individuals with incurable, but controllable chronic conditions, innovative biologic therapies have the potential to improve their quality of life by not only reducing symptoms, but also offering independence enabled by at-home treatment. However, as biologic therapies are often administered in higher viscosities and higher injected volumes, it creates challenges for the entire supply chain as we struggle to ensure appropriate self-administration by patients consistently and effectively, without the expert oversight of their healthcare provider. Combine this with growing regulatory scrutiny to ensure the quality and efficacy of therapeutic offerings throughout their lifecycle, and the industry finds itself in a new, increasingly patientcentric wave of drug delivery.

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Chris Evans is Vice President at West Pharmaceutical Services and has been in product development for more than 20 years, primarily in healthcare packaging and device development. He graduated from the University of Maryland in Bio/ Chemistry and has, since then, worked mostly on the ‘front-end’ of innovation. Having been with West for eight years, Chris is now responsible for new product and technology development, focusing on device usability and enhancing the patient experience.
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