• Dean Erhardt

The Medication Adherence Dilemma

Updated: Aug 20

Where did my patients go?

Medication adherence


A recent article (link below) provides meta-analysis that demonstrates that nearly 20% of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients do not adhere to their daily oral disease-modifying drugs (DMD‘s). The information also indicates that 1 in 4 patients discontinue their DMDs before 1 year. For the sake of discussion, I am going to assume that this issue isn’t exclusive to DMDs but applies broadly to specialty medications.

Add this drop off to the issue I have referenced in previous posts that 20 – 50% of patients on specialty medications never fill their first prescription

Combining these issues creates an interesting picture of patients who are not fulfilling a successful treatment regimen thereby implying they don’t attain optimal outcomes.


D2’s research suggests that the answers, while varied, can be lumped into 2 large buckets, a) complexity and b) connectivity. Simplistically, we must lower the complexity, or ‘friction’ of onboarding patients. While we in the industry might have an understanding of the process, the impact of being told you have a life-changing disease combined with the complexity of managing the onboarding process creates friction and frustration for patients, who end up dropping or simply getting lost in the process. Further once on a drug, they fight a disease they don’t understand, and many times the impact of the drug treatment feels worse than the disease itself. The need to be in consistent contact with these patients with meaningful information is many times the difference between a patient fighting through the challenges to stay on therapy vs. simply being overwhelmed and giving up.

The following article touches on the need for more patient education, reminders and overall simplification which is something we can all support!






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