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The High Cost of Stopping High Blood Pressure Medicine
Millions of Americans have high blood pressure but 50% of the people that are prescribed high blood pressure medicines stop taking them within the first twelve months of treatment. Only 75% of those who keep taking their medicine take enough to control their blood pressures adequately. This can lead to life-threatening complications, such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney damage or eye damage. The problem is so serious that the Joint National Committee on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure stated that "the major problem" in high blood pressure control is noncompliance with long-term treatment.

Patient Education Works
Studies repeatedly show that patient education works. Home medication errors fall dramatically (up to 50%) and people have fewer side effects, fewer doctor visits, fewer hospital admissions ...and a higher quality of life when they are given the information they need to take a drug safely.

The health care system will never be able to make drug therapy safe and effective if steps are not taken to include the consumer as a full-fledged partner in the drug therapy "system". It does not matter if a medication is a "miracle drug"... it won't work if the patient is not given enough information, counseling and feedback to take it correctly.

A National Public Health Issue
The United States spends as much money to treat the complications of home medication errors as we do to purchase all the medications in the US. Three years ago, we were spending $76 billion a year to purchase medications in the US and another $76 billion to treat the complications that people have when they do not understand how to take their medications. The cost of home medication errors rises much higher ($180 billion+) when we include the costs to an employer for absenteeism, on-the-job injuries, etc. Home medication errors are really a national public health issue that is harming patients and the health care system, as well as the productivity of our nation.

When a person is not well-informed and motivated to manage the treatment in a safe and wise manner, the cost of the treatment goes up for both the consumer and the health care insurance plan. The answer is to educate people so they can learn how to manage their medications wisely and safely. This will reap billions of dollars in cost-savings and will free up dollars so that health professionals can be reimbursed for the time it takes to counsel people adequately.

Prescription drugs used wisely can save lives. They should not be causing such high rates of medical complications and deaths because people are not being adequately counseled and monitored.

(Click here to read summary of Consumer Health Information Corporation presentation at FDA/National Patient Safety Foundation Conference.)