The National Consumers League (NCL), a nonprofit membership organization aimed at promoting social and economic justice, has launched a new awareness campaign to encourage patients to adhere to their medication regimens. The campaign was kicked off with an event at The George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC, that featured US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.
The campaign, which is called Script Your Future and is led by the NCL, also involves a range of public and private partners and sponsors, including the US Food and Drug Administration, health care professionals, patient communities, family caregivers, pharmacies, health insurance plans, pharmaceutical companies and associations, as well as government agencies and researchers. Pharma companies sponsoring the effort include Lilly, Merck, AstraZeneca, Boehringer, Pfizer, Sanofi and Schering-Plough.
The multi-year effort centres around the Script Your Future website that offers free text message medication reminders and charts to help patients keep track of their medicines.
The site also provides daily heath news; a section in which visitors can create a personal pledge about medication adherence to print out and remind themselves of "all the reasons you have to stay healthy and to take your medicine"; and sample questions to help patients start a conversation about medication adherence with their doctor, pharmacist or nurse.
In addition, materials will be distributed through pharmacies, doctors' offices, health fairs, health insurance plans and hospitals.
Script Your Future will also pilot campaign activities, research and advertising in six regional city markets: Durham, North Carolina; Baltimore, Maryland; Birmingham, Alabama; Cincinnati, Ohio; Providence, Rhode Island; and Sacramento, California. NCL is working with local organisations to plan events and activities in the six cities and will post schedules on the website.
The campaign is targeted in particular at people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, COPD, asthma, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. A component of the campaign aimed at healthcare providers was launched in March.
The campaign is based on research commissioned by the consumer group that found that three out of four Americans do not properly adhere to their medication regimens.
Conducted by NCL in partnership with a researcher at Duke University Medical Center, the study concluded that non-adherence leads to unnecessarily high rates of morbidity and mortality, as well as to unnecessary healthcare costs. Download the full report 'Medication Adherence: Making the Case for Increased Awareness' (PDF).
Ongoing research will be conducted as part of the campaign over the next three years.