Abbott to crack the code of non-adherence with behavioural science

October 12, 2022 - 11:00
This session was led by world-renowned experts, including Prof. Rob Horne, University College London, UK, Prof. Badr Eldin Mostafa, Ain Shams University, Egypt, Prof. Enrique De Madaria, Miguel Hernández University, Spain, Prof. Alta Schutte, From The International Society Of Hypertension And Dr Matthias Mueller, DVP Innovation and Development, Abbott’s Established Pharmaceuticals business.

Abbott, as a global healthcare leader, hosts the second global a:care Congress, with the first session held on October 8, 2022, to help find tangible solutions for the pressing global challenge of medicine non-adherence. The congress will highlight the hidden factors behind adherence challenges and present practical solutions that have been proven to adequately support healthcare professionals in breaking medicine non-adherence for their patients.

Abbott is taking a holistic approach to improving adherence, with the a:care Congress serving as a unique platform for experts to come together and share tangible solutions for this pressing issue. This year’s event is a step further to sustaining these conversations, following Abbott’s successful first global a:care Congress in 2021.

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The global challenge of non-adherence

According to the World Health Organization, if everyone who was prescribed medicines took them as intended, the impact on health would be far greater than any improvement in specific medical treatments. Poor medicine adherence is a critical public health challenge, preventing people from living their best lives. Nearly 50% of people don’t take their medicines as prescribed, about one-third never fill their first prescription, and 31% stop their medicine earlier than recommended. Despite numerous medical advances, control over certain diseases has not improved, driven largely by non-adherence to treatments.

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Prof. Badr Eldin Mostafa, Professor Emeritus, former Chairman Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at the Faculty of Medicine Ain-Shams University, Cairo, Egypt shared: “Patient adherence to treatment is an underestimated global problem. The a:care Congress offers a fresh outlook on tackling this problem, and, judging by the active participation and interactions of healthcare professionals from different communities at the last Congress, it is clear that it has opened a new window to help understand the true causes of non-compliance and suggest novel methods to change patient behaviour and empower both healthcare professionals and patients to create a real change in attitude and behaviour.”

Prof. Rob Horne, Professor of Behavioural Medicine at University College London shared:

“Adherence rates vary not just between patients but within the same patient over time and across treatment. Most of us are nonadherence some of the time! It is best understood in terms of the interaction between an individual and a particular treatment. There are many reasons for non-adherence, but they can be summarized as ‘can’t/don't want. At the core, there is often a disconnect between beliefs and expectations between a doctor and a patient. We need to tailor support to each patient by addressing the perceptions and the practicalities influencing the ability to adhere.”

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Efforts to address adherence

About 8% of the total global health expenditure could be avoided with adherence to medicine. To crack the code of medicine adherence, many stakeholders from around the world must work together, sharing best practices and identifying common trends to drive this change. Abbott’s pioneering a:care initiative, integrating digital tools and behavioural science, takes a unique approach to improve adherence by empowering healthcare practitioners to support patients with small, manageable steps to help build better health habits.

Matthias Mueller, MD, MSc, Divisional Vice President Innovation and Development, Abbott’s Established Pharmaceuticals business said:

“The World Health Organization has recognised that the number one thing we can do today to improve the health of the overall population is to increase adherence to treatments. That’s why, as part of our relentless work to improve people’s health, Abbott is working on innovative approaches to help more people follow their doctor’s advice more often and build steps toward better health. Our unique approach to improving adherence is driven by the intersection of behavioural science and technology. Partnering with leading voices in the medical community, we work together toward a common goal to improve adherence and help people live healthier lives.”

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Vietnam’s unique scenario

In Vietnam, the rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is a major health concern, accounting for 77% of deaths in the country. Among those, one out of three is caused by cardiovascular diseases, equivalent to 200,000 deaths each year, 10 times the number of deaths by traffic accidents. However, a study conducted at Neurology Faculty, Bach Mai hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam in 2020-2021 showed that nearly 60% of stroke patients with hypertension did not adhere to medical treatment. Furthermore, research also indicated that less than half of cancer patients adhere to their treatment.

Non-adherence has a significant social and economic impact, resulting in an increased risk of death, avoidable hospital visits, and significant healthcare expenditure. Addressing non-adherence would bring about significant impacts on Vietnamese people’s health. There are about 12 million people in Vietnam with hypertension, whilst the cancer burden has tripled in the past 20 years, from 68,000 cases in 2000 to 182,563 in 2020.

If you wish to learn more about medicine adherence and the a:care Congress, you can visit: