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Managing Medication

Medication nonadherence is a serious public health issue. It costs the NHS approximately £500 million every year, as well as countless hours of work dealing with problems which arise due to patients not taking prescribed medications as directed. As the former US general surgeon, Dr C Everett Koop, stated, “drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.”

Across the UK, one billion items are prescribed and dispensed by pharmacists every year. However, one in five patients surveyed as part of the True Cost of Medication Non- Adherence report admitted to not taking their medication as prescribed. “Non-adherence is a big problem,” Ric Fordham, Professor of Applied Health and Economics at the University of East Anglia, UK, said in the study. “When patients don’t feel ill, or they start to feel better, they think there is no need for them to take their drugs anymore. Patients then don’t get the full benefit of them and that ends up reducing the cost effectiveness of the drugs.”

Nonadherence can be classified as intentional (when a patient actively decides not to take medication or follow treatment recommendations) or unintentional (which can be caused by misunderstanding the prescription requirements, an inability to access or administer prescribed medication, or simple forgetfulness). The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence states that nonadherence should not be considered as just the patient’s problem; ultimately, it represents a fundamental limitation in the delivery of healthcare.

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Oliver Pittock is the Managing Director of pharmaceutical packaging specialist, Valley Northern. Oliver built his commitment to the healthcare and pharmacy supply business through seeing his father’s business grow throughout the 1970s. Moving to the Midlands in 1993, Oliver set up Valley Northern, which became a limited company in 2014.
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