Designed to extend care and support beyond the GP's surgery, Everyday Medicines will help patients better understand their condition and their treatment. This should increase the number of patients taking certain medicines as prescribed and create a Win-Win-Win situation for all concerned: the patient, their GP and the NHS.
Patients who fail to complete their prescriptions, or who don't understand how to take their medicine, do not receive the full therapeutic benefit of the treatment prescribed. The knock-on effect is that many patients either pay a return visit to their GP for the same condition, or end up making a new appointment for a more serious medical condition that has arisen from not fully treating the original one.
"There is no medicine less effective, or less cost effective, than one that is not taken properly," said Dr Bill Laughey, a GP from York. "Medicines are complex technologies and it is incredibly difficult to explain enough in the time a GP has with the patient. This initiative is a wonderful example of a manufacturer providing real support to the people who need it."
As well as affecting health outcomes, non-compliance also has a significant financial impact.
In the year to March 2006, prescription volume increased by 6.0% to more than 722 million items1. However, an estimated £ 4 billion2 is wasted each year due to patients not understanding how to take their medicines properly, or by not taking the full course of the medicines prescribed to them by their GP; this is equivalent to 5% of the total NHS budget or 5 times the NHS overspend.
Everyday Medicines is an initiative from AstraZeneca and initially focuses on the cardiovascular, gastroenterology and respiratory therapeutic areas.
Patients being treated with certain AstraZeneca products will be able to access a password-protected web site - www.everydaymedicines.com - where they can get useful information and practical advice about their diagnosed condition and the AstraZeneca medicine prescribed. GPs will be able to refer a patient to the website following their usual medical consultation.
Philip Oldham from AstraZeneca commented: "Everyday Medicines is a new and innovative way for AstraZeneca to help address the problem of non-compliance and its effect on achieving valid therapeutic outcomes for many patients. We hope that this initiative should also deliver wins for GPs, who will see a reduction in appointments, and also for the NHS."
1 NHS Business Services Authority Pharmaceutical Directorate report 19/05/06
2 Prof Hugh McGavock on BBC Radio 4 Case Notes programme 09/05/06
Notes to editors
- The five drugs initially covered by the Everyday Medicines initiative are:
1. Bricanyl - Respiratory
2. Pulmicort - Respiratory
3. Losec - Gastroenterology
4. Imdur - Cardiovascular
5. Zestril and Zestoretic - Cardiovascular
- AstraZeneca UK Marketing Company is part of AstraZeneca plc, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies focussed on providing innovative, effective medicines that make a real difference in important areas of healthcare
For further press information please contact Adrian Linden at Idea Pharma on: e: firstname.lastname@example.org, t: 01234 436 100, m: 07919 967 865.