Health IT

Why pharma should focus on adherence: $188B in lost revenue

Patients not taking their medications is costing pharmaceutical companies dearly.

A new report has found that the U.S. revenue loss from medication nonadherence is a whopping $188 billion. The loss is all the more eye popping if extrapolated to the global market: $564 billion.

And that is simply the loss as it relates to medications for chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, according to Capgemini Consulting and HealthPrize Technologies,  a company that makes a patient adherence software platform. Capgemini Consulting and HealthPrize jointly conducted the study.

They found that the U.S. revenue loss just from medication nonadherence in diabetes alone is $11.4 billion.


“The revenue that pharma leaves on the table due to lack of adherence to prescription medications is much higher than usually thought,” explained Thomas Forissier, principal at Capgemini Consulting, in a news release. “In addition, many people don’t realize that a 10 percent boost in adherence could increase revenue by much more than 10 percent. That 10 percent loss is based on the higher revenue amount that could have materialized, not on actual revenue earned.”

The number that is bandied about to account for revenue loss from nonadherence is $30 billion emerging from a Datamonitor report from 2004, the new report said.

Historically, pharmaceutical companies have not “fully embraced patient adherence programs” according to a Frost and Sullivan white paper called “The Evolution of Patient Adherence Programs: Moving from Mass Market Relationships to a Personal Approach”

Now the much larger loss of revenue, gleaned from an analysis of modern claims-based adherence literature and data by Capgemini and HealthPrize Technologies, should change some attitudes.

“For insurers, employers and patients, nonadherence significantly increases healthcare costs as a result of disease-related complications. For pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies and pharmacy benefits managers, nonadherence significantly erodes profit due to prescriptions never filled and medications not taken often enough.  Given the significant potential to enhance revenue and lower cost to the overall healthcare system, programs to address medication adherence should be a top priority to the pharmaceutical industry,” said Katrina Firlik, co-founder and chief medical officer of HealthPrize Technologies, in a news release.