Not taking medication has serious and wide reaching consequences.  The Problem of non adherence is well reported and documented.  Up to 50% of people don't take their medication as prescribed, this is a major issue that has far reaching consequences clinically, financially and personally. Improving patients adherence to medications is a critical part of achieving medicines optimisation in practice.

For NHS and associate healthcare organisations, it can impact on achieving quality and financial quality indicators - in particular costs associated with relapse such as wasted medicines, additional treatment and hospital admissions.

Medicines wastage in England for 2011 are estimated to be in excess of £300 million.  Relapses to hospital cost £300-£500+ per day and in a typical case of a mental health relapse this would mean 28 days at this daily cost.

For patients, illness exacerbation resulting in relapse has an associated reduction in quality of life and life expectancy.

Studies conducted by our associate researchers (Professor Richard Gray et el) have found that the way in which people make decisions about whether or not to accept treatment is based on a complex set of factors unique to that individual.  Interventions therefore need to address the individual issues and concerns that people have about taking their treatment.

For pharmaceutical organisations, patients are typically "switched" away from medication that is not seen to be effective.  In order for a medication to achieve results comparable to those seen in closely controlled and monitored clinical trials, taking the medication as prescribed by the healthcare professional is of paramount importance.