By Daphne Allen, Editor, Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News
Patients continue to fail to take their medicine as prescribed, and many believe that such failure amounts to billions of added healthcare costs each year. An upcoming event seeks to bring pharmaceutical industry stakeholders together to review the latest research and collaborate on strategies to improve patient adherence.
For the last 18 years, the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council (HCPC) has explored the scope of the problem and potential packaging solutions at its annual National Symposium on Patient Compliance. Building upon that concept, HCPC is expanding its lineup of speakers and invited attendees to include pharmaceutical marketing professionals and others involved in pharmaceutical development, branding, and market analysis. With its upcoming event, RxAdherence 2011, HCPC seeks to foster greater collaboration between marketers and packagers to build a compliance-packaging strategy into the product development and launch process.
The event—scheduled for May 3 at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick in New Brunswick, NJ—will begin with a look at the problem. Two opening keynote presentations include "Next Steps for Improved Patient Adherence" by Vernon Schabert, principal, IMS Health Economics and Outcomes Research, and "National Medication Adherence Campaign-Raising Awareness About Medication Adherence," by Rebecca Burkholder, JD, vice president of health policy, National Consumers League (NCL).
Schabert from IMS will review current adherence interventions and "share a vision for the industry's next steps," including a shift toward "patient-centered strategy, where innovative uses of packaging can play a role." Burkholder will explain NCL's national multi-media campaign, supported by funds from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), to raise consumer awareness of the importance of good medication adherence.
A midday keynote from Tom Hubbard, senior program director, the National Network for Health Innovation, entitled "Health Care Reform and Patient Medication Adherence-Implications for the Packaging Industry," will look at the current state of adherence programs in the context of ongoing health care reform initiatives. Hubbard will also examine "how packaging and labeling improvements are-or are not-factoring into strategies to improve the way Americans take their medications." Hubbard also coauthored the article, "Thinking Outside the Pillbox: Medication Adherence and Care Teams."
Cases in which packaging has played a role in medication adherence will also be shared with the audience. During "New Research Demonstrates Impact of Adherence Packaging," Ted Lithgow, PhD, chief science officer, MWV Healthcare, will present just-released peer-reviewed pharmacoepidemiological research analyzing pharmacy claims data. Together with scientists from Venebio Group, MWV Healthcare has begun to evaluate scientifically the adherence potential of innovative packaging solutions.
Data were analyzed from a more than 3 million patient population sample, drawn from an original 12 million patient dataset, filling prescriptions between 2007 and 2009 for generic lisinopril or enalapril, angiotensin converting enzyme-inhibitor medications commonly prescribed for hypertension. Results of the analysis are currently being prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
During the one-year period after new users of lisinopril were switched from traditional packaging in vials to Shellpak, there was a significantly higher probability of patients having filled medication than in patients who continued to receive enalapril in vials. The packaging switch occurred against the backdrop of a steep drop in consumer spending and increase in unemployment associated with the recession (2008-2009), and was associated with a decline in prescriptions filled in both the vial and Shellpak groups.
However, Shellpak was also associated with a significant increase in the average length of therapy over the year compared to vial packaging. "These results show the impressive potential impact of Shellpak on patient prescription filling behavior when unprecedented scientific rigor is applied to demonstrate patient the power of innovative packaging to touch every patient," says Lithgow.
Another presentation, "Role of Technology to Improve Medication Adherence," will review a six-month study on the use of an electronic compliance reminder by patients taking an antihypertensive medication. Presented by Kamal Jethwani MD MPH, lead research scientist, Center for Connected Health, as well as an instructor, Harvard Medical School, the study through Partners Healthcare's Center for Connected Health showed compliance rates as high as 99 percent in one of the patient groups using the reminder, compared with 71 percent for the control group.
In "Improving Patient Outcomes through the use of e-diaries within the Meridian Healthcare System," Sandra Elliot, director, consumer technology and service development at Meridian Health, will also speak about Meridian Health's use of e-diaries used within pain, weight management and sleep disorder assessment.
Industry peers will come together for a panel discussion in the afternoon on how consumer research, brand marketing, and well-developed compliance prompting packaging brought together early in the process can increase patient refill rate and patient adherence. Featured panelists include Christine Coyne, product director, Endo Pharmaceuticals; Diane Krusko, cardiovascular marketing director, Pfizer; Sander Flaum, CEO, Flaum Partners; Jay Carter, AbelsonTaylor; Justin Schroeder, director, marketing & business development, Anderson Packaging Inc.; and Ted Lithgow, PhD, chief science officer, MWV Healthcare. The discussion will be moderated by Christiane Truelove, editor-in-chief, Med Ad News, and Daphne Allen, editor, Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News.
Continuing a long-standing tradition, Walter Berghahn, executive director, HCPC, will present HCPC's Compliance Package of the Year Awards Presentation. (For more details on entering the competition by Mar. 15, visit www.hcpconline.org.) The event may expand further as new data and projects come to light, so stay tuned for more at www.hcpconline.org/rxadherence-2011.html.
The event is sponsored by Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, Med Ad News, PharmaLive.com and Pharmalot.