According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in developed countries, adherence to long-term therapies in the general population is around 50% and is even lower in developing countries. In England, between one-third and a half of all medicines prescribed for long-term conditions are not taken as recommended. Estimates for the cost of unused or unwanted medicines in the NHS vary but the Department of Health estimate it to be £100 million annually.
The economic costs are not limited to wasted medicines. Non-adherence has the potential to limit the benefit of prescribed medicines, which can impede improvement or result in deterioration in health and the possibility of increased demand on GP surgeries and hospitals. Therefore, what factors are at play that result in non-adherence i.e. why do patients find it difficult to take their medications as prescribed by their General Practitioner (GP)? How can adherence levels be improved?
The purpose of our research was to gain an understanding of the factors at play that result in non-adherence i.e. why patients often find it difficult to take their medications as prescribed by their General Practitioner (GP).