People Don’t Take Their Pills. Only One Thing Seems to Help.

By:  Austin Frakt

For all that Americans spend on prescription drugs — $425 billion last year — you’d think we’d actually take our medicine.

But one of the frustrating truths about American health care is that half or more of prescribed medication is never taken.

It’s called medication nonadherence, and it’s a well-documented and longstanding problem, particularly for patients with chronic conditions. The drugs they’re prescribed are intended to prevent costly complications, reduce hospitalization, even keep them alive. But even when the stakes are high, many patients don’t take their meds.

This seems like a problem we ought to be able to solve. It motivates high tech approaches, like digital pills that can automatically communicate to doctors that they’ve been taken.

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