PharmExec Blog

CBI Conference Highlights Innovative Programs on Patient Compliance

With compliance rates flagging, companies have to work harder than ever to demonstrate these programs have value and represent a good ROI

Pharm Exec’s sister conference organization, CBI, sponsored its 10th annual Patient Adherence Forum in April to highlight current trends in industry compliance and adherence programs — where companies reach out to help an increasingly skittish community of patients take their pills. A key feature of the conference is the grant of the Strategic Patient Adherence Awards (SPA) to recognize companies doing breakthrough work to promote the compliance agenda.

The competition aims to recognize successful programs that measurably increase patients’ compliance to their prescription medication regimen, devised and implemented by bio or pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, health systems, payer groups, employers, agencies, or vendors.

To be eligible, a program must have been implemented prior to February 1, 2010, and campaigns must have been produced, printed, or aired and had response results tabulated between January 1, 2010 and December 30, 2010.

This year’s winners are:

• Best Branded Program: Lori-Jean Manness of Merck Canada, for the Merck/RxCanada Januvia program
• Scientific Pursuit of Excellence: Abhijit Gadkari of Merck US on behalf of Colleen McHorney
• Innovation – Suzanne Clough of WellDoc
• Best Employee Participation Program:  Laura Del Guerra of MAHCP’s Take Control Program
• Best Managed Care Program: Kelley Green of Kaiser Permanente

“I look for programs that use research, evidence, and science to drive design. I look for programs that operate at the patient level. Adherence is about people’s behavior and choices, which are terribly complex and not logical or rational. It’s personal. We quip that education alone does not improve adherence and that’s why. I also look for programs that are more subtle and affect behavior through the subconscious because that’s what drives our daily behavior,” says Steve Basiago, veteran judge and VP of trade relations at Walgreens.

“The biggest challenge is to address adherence as a long-term proposition. Chronic medications taken for a short period of time only add cost to the healthcare system without tangible benefit to health. Chronic medications when taken consistently over a longer time are more likely to provide health benefit and hopefully, reduce overall healthcare cost,” he continues.

“We often focus our attention on patients starting therapy because that’s a critical decision-making phase for them. But we still see significant discontinuation as time goes on. Instead of programs getting one extra prescription per year, how about getting an extra year of persistence?”

Finally, when asked what pharma can do to promote improved compliance, Basiago says, “My best advice is to get the funding of adherence out from under the brand marketing budget. Too often, brand marketers don’t understand adherence but are tasked with funding it as part of the brand strategy. They’re driven by and measured by new patient acquisition and not patient retention. They ration dollars and often under-fund adherence. The most successful companies have created an adherence leader, which helps with understanding. The really successful companies have funded adherence through Finance directly as an overall company priority.”

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