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AHCPR Teams with NCPIE to Help Consumers Follow Prescription Medicine Treatment Plans

Press Release Date: August 24, 1995

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research and the National Council on Patient Information and Education have announced a partnership to help consumers understand the importance of following prescription medicine treatment plans.

"AHCPR and NCPIE are creating a new consumer publication on prescription medicine compliance to encourage safe and effective use of prescription medicines and help consumers work closely with their physicians, pharmacists and other health care providers in planning and monitoring treatments," said Clifton R. Gaus, Sc.D., administrator of AHCPR.

"The problem of non-compliance with prescription medicine regimens is becoming widely recognized, thanks in part to NCPIE's efforts to bring the issue into sharper focus," Dr. Gaus said. NCPIE estimates that as many as half of all medications are taken incorrectly, leading each year to $8.5 billion in unnecessary hospitalization costs, an estimated 9 million adverse drug reactions and a quarter of all nursing home admissions.

Non-compliance is a problem that affects people of all ages, occupations, and income and educational levels, according to NCPIE.

This collaboration was inspired by the inclusion of medications in many AHCPR-supported clinical practice guidelines on common medical conditions, coupled with NCPIE's long-standing objective of enhancing prescription medicine compliance by improving patient-provider communication.

All AHCPR guidelines are accompanied by consumer guides that complement recommendations to health care practitioners. AHCPR has distributed almost 9 million such guides. This feature of AHCPR guidelines, unique in the guideline community, was noted by NCPIE's Chairman, former Congressman Paul G. Rogers, in making the announcement.

"NCPIE and AHCPR are the right team to help ensure that consumers receive the information they need to understand their disease, their diagnosis and the importance of compliance with their prescribed medicines," Mr. Rogers said.

"I am certain this is but the first of many collaborations with AHCPR," he said. "For example, our national directory of prescription medicine information and education materials could include AHCPR-sponsored guidelines that mention prescription drug compliance."

NCPIE, established in 1982, is a non-profit coalition of more than 350 organization—representing health professionals, consumers, voluntary health agencies, pharmaceutical research and manufacturing companies, managed care and government—committed to improving communication between health care professionals and patients about prescription medicines.

AHCPR is the lead Federal agency charged with supporting research designed to improve the quality of health care, reduce its cost and broaden access to essential services. AHCPR's broad programs of research, clinical guideline development and technology assessment bring practical, science-based information to health care practitioners and consumers.

AHCPR's interest in pharmaceuticals is reflected both in its guideline program as well as in its current funding of a number of pharmaceutical outcomes studies under its Medical Treatment Effectiveness Program.

For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1855 ; or Salina Prasad, (301) 427-1864; or NCPIE, Erin Hoffman at (202) 347-6711.

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