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Smart Packaging: The Missing Link in the Two-Step Adherence Puzzle

It is no secret that the medical community has a problem with non-adherence to medication. The issue drives health outcomes down, forces cost up, and has been well documented over the last few decades (1). How to deal with the issue, however, is less clear cut. Many current measures are imperfect, biased, and inaccurate, and the huge variety of barriers to compliance rule out a one size fits all solution.

A new generation of connected smart packaging is offering healthcare providers and researchers with the ability to take an informed, patient-centred approach, and overcome the adherence puzzle once and for all.

Avoidable Mortality and Morbidity

Prescription drugs can offer life-changing results, but they only work if people take them as prescribed. That is not always easy, especially for people with long-term conditions who require regular, ongoing treatment to prevent disease progression or complications. The consequences can be dire. A study of more than 65,000 people with Type 2 diabetes, for example, found poor medication adherence in the two years after diagnosis was associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD). In fact, it raised the mortality rate by 45%, and the incidence of CVD by 41% (2).

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Dr Bernard Vrijens, Scientific Lead at AARDEX Group, holds a PhD from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Informatics at Ghent University, Belgium.

He currently leads a research program investigating: the most common errors in dosing using a simple but robust taxonomy; particular dosing errors that can jeopardise the efficacy of a drug; and the optimal measurement-guided medication management program that can enhance adherence to medications and maintain long-term persistence.

Bernard is also the co-author of seven book chapters, over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and named as inventor on six patents. He is a founding member of the International Society for Medication Adherence (ESPACOMP), and an active member of several EU- and US-funded collaborative projects around the theme of adherence to medications.
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Dr Bernard Vrijens
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