Reminder packaging is a 'consistently effective medication-adherence intervention strategy,' says Decision Resources


Analysts find that better adherence can be a competitive advantage in new-product introductions

A Strategic Insights report from Decision Resources (Burlington, MA), “The $300-Billion Elephant: Strategies for Addressing Patient Nonadherence,” cites reminder packaging (blister cards and other unit-dose forms of packaging) can be a valuable resource for companies introducing new products to the market. The $300-billion figure comes from earlier studies calculating the difference between average adherence to therapy, and what would be both the market and healthcare-cost effects of getting more patients to stay on therapy more consistently.

Typically, adherence packaging of various forms is used for physician samples and other product-introduction measures, but fairly quickly, manufacturers revert to lowest-cost bulk packaging (or packaging in pill bottles) to minimize distribution expenses, both for the manufacturer itself and for trading partners like wholesalers and retail pharmacies.

"In competitive chronic disease treatment markets, early positioning of a new brand based on superior adherence could be a strong differentiator in a crowded market," says Kate Hohenberg, group SVP at the company. She adds that literature citations of studies of antihypertensives and lipid-lowering drugs show a 14-20% lift in adherence for those drugs when reminder packaging is used. While incremental packaging costs increase (in one study, by $25 over a six-month regimen), the increased usage can provide a quick ROI for the manufacturer—and potential savings in better health maintenance for the payer.

The report is available from Decision Resources.

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