Although patient compliance problems have been receiving attention for at least a decade, many medications are still dispensed in bottles that contain a supply intended to last days or weeks and require considerable effort on the part of the patient or caregiver to keep track of the dosing schedule. As a result, when it comes to consistently taking the right dose at the right time for the duration of a prescription, many consumers don't do a very good job.
The failures add up to millions of dollars in unnecessary healthcare costs and lost work time, as well as nursing home admissions and patient illnesses and death. Packaging designed to help patients follow proper dosage regimens could reduce or even eliminate many noncompliance problems.
Compliance packaging is especially important for regimens that require frequent doses, multiple medications, or titrated doses. But it also can help patients remember simple regimens such as once-a-week doses.
For pharmaceutical manufacturers looking for new ideas in compliance packaging, a review of 10 years of winners of the Compliance Package of the Year competition sponsored by the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council (HCPC, Falls Church, VA, www.unitdose.org) is instructive. The winning concept often are based on blister cards, generally in combination with plastic compacts or paperboard cartons or sleeves, but they also may take other forms.
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