Research database

This Research Database has been developed by HCPC Europe to create an overview of the available research in the field of patient-friendly and adherence packaging. The database is for all members of HCPC Europe. Members can register as a user to get access to the database. Is your organisation not a member yet? Then please register your organisation as a member or contact our Executive Director Ger Standhardt for more information.

Tamper-resistant yet convenient: solving a design dilemma

Manufacturers of Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs and some consumer products are in a quandary. On the other hand, they must make packaging, containers, and closures secure enough to be tamper-resistant and child safe. At the same time, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has challenged them to create packaging that is easy for the elderly and handicapped to open. Tampering indications based on sight, sound and smell are the latest developments.

OECD Health Working Paper No. 105 (2018)

Despite  mounting  evidence, amassed  for more  than  four  decades, poor  adherence  to medications still affects approximately half of  the population that receives prescriptions, leading to severe  health  complications,  premature  deaths,  and  an  increased  use  of healthcare services. – – – – Poor  adherence is  estimated  to contribute to  nearly 200,000  premature  deaths  in Europe per year. Patients with chronic diseases are particularly vulnerable to poor health  outcomes  if  they  do  not  adhere  to  their  medications. Mortality  rates  for patients with diabetes and heart disease who don’t adhere are nearly twice as high as for those who do adhere.
– It  is  estimated  to  cost  EUR  125  billion in  Europe and USD  105  billion in  the United   States   per   year   in   avoidable   hospitalisations,   emergency   care,   and outpatient visits.
– The  three   most   prevalent   chronic   conditions – diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidaemia – stand  out  as  the  diseases  with  the  highest  avoidable  costs,  for which every  extra  USD  spent  on  medications  for  patients who  do  adhere can generate  between  USD  3  to  13 in  savings  on  avoidable emergency  department visits and inpatient hospitalisations alone.

The  prevalence  of medication non-adherence  varies  considerably  across  conditions  and patient groups. Most of the studies used different assessment methods making it difficult to compare adherence rates across health systems. Overall, among patients with diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidaemia:
– 4 to 31% of patients never fill their first prescription;
– of  those  who  do  fill  their first  prescription,  only  50  to  70%  are  taking  their medications regularly (i.e. at least 80% of the time); and
– less than half of these patients are still continuing to take their medications within two years of the initial prescription.

Patient friendly pharmaceutical pack design

One of the most pressing challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry today is patient compliance – how to ensure the patient takes the right medicine at the right time in the right way.   Studies show that patient adherence (the extent to which a patient takes a medicine as prescribed) usually starts well but then falls away strongly over time, a worrying trend seen across almost all therapeutic areas.   After 12–18 months, adherence rates may drop to around 30%, even for disease areas with very low survival rates.

The impact of poor medication adherence is serious and costly to both patients and the healthcare system.   Consequences include medical complications, disease progression, hospitalizations, impaired quality of life and or even death.   With approximately 50% of patients not taking their medications as prescribed across diseases and health conditions, moving the needle even a little toward better adherence can make a big difference.

This paper aims to show how pharmaceutical packaging can have a significant impact on patient compliance and how the introduction of patient-friendly packs really can lead to improved adherence rates.