- Prescribing Advice for GPs - https://www.prescriber.org.uk -

Medicines non-adherence costs millions

According to a costing report published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Evidence (NICE) the cost to the NHS of non-adherence to medicines could be as high as £196 million.

In 2006–07, the cost of hospital admissions (excluding critical care costs) was approximately £16.4 billion. 3-4% of these admissions are as a consequence of avoidable medicine-related illness with 11-30% of this subgroup arising from patients not taking medicines as recommended by the prescriber. This would place a cost estimate of between £36 million and £196 million in terms of the cost of the hospital admission alone.

NICE note that the potential for savings in terms of reducing hospital admissions and improved adherence are large but impossible to quantify. This may be especially true if more patients choose not to take medicines since this may result in an increase number of admissions for disease related complications.

Action: Clinicians should still aim involve patients in making decisions about prescribed medicines. This strategy may reduce medication related harms and generate savings.