A majority of patients who do not take prescription medications as directed by a physician make a conscious decision to disobey their doctor's orders, according to a Boston Consulting Group analysis of a Harris Interactive survey.
Harris, of Rochester, N.Y., polled more than 9,200 patients with chronic illnesses in April 2002. The Boston Consulting Group released its study Monday.
According to the Boston-based research firm, 18% of respondents say they had not filled a drug prescribed to them within the last 12 months, while 26% had delayed filling a prescription. Others were not compliant because they took smaller or less-frequent doses than prescribed or had stopped taking the medication altogether without physician approval.
Among those not following orders, only 24% say they simply forgot, the report says. Instead, most make an active decision to ignore their physicians.
One in five surveyed that they did not want the side effects from a medication, 17% say the drug cost too much, 14% believe they did not need the drug, and 10% cited inability to fill or pick up a prescription.
"Improving compliance with prescribed regimens offers health care organizations--specifically, pharmaceutical companies, payers, providers and pharmacies--a significant opportunity to improve both the physical health of their patients and the financial health of their own institutions," says Boston Consulting Group Vice President Mark Lubkeman, one of the authors of the report.