Patient adherence to medicines

On 03 December 2014, the Academy of Medical Sciences held a joint FORUM meeting with the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine on 'Patient adherence to medicines'

Status: Completed

On 03 December 2014, the Academy of Medical Sciences, in partnership with the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, convened a meeting to identify the key challenges and opportunities of better adherence to medicines. It is estimated that up to 50% of patients taking medicines for chronic conditions do not take their medicines as prescribed and wasted medicines are thought to cost the NHS in England around £300 million per year. As such, poor adherence is not only harmful for patients who do not benefit fully from the treatments they are prescribed, but it also represents an economic loss to the healthcare system and to society.

The meeting brought together key stakeholders from academia, the pharmaceutical industry and the healthcare sector, along with ethicists, economists and patient representatives to:

  • Explore stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities in improving adherence to medicines.
  • Facilitate interactions between the relevant stakeholders.
  • Work towards identifying solutions to this issue.

The meeting highlighted several key considerations for enhancing adherence to medicines, including:

  • Prioritising the challenge of non-adherence to medicines to ensure better outcomes for patients.
  • Coordinating a sector-wide response to tackle poor adherence.
  • Carefully allocating effort and resources in addressing non-adherence.
  • Better engaging and communicating with patients, and developing a deeper understanding of their experiences, expectations and root causes for non-adherence.
  • Incorporating messages on medicines adherence and better communication into medical training.
  • Developing and implementing tools to accurately monitor adherence, in order to better estimate the prevalence and nature of the problem.
  • Utilising new technologies to improve adherence to medicines as a complement to the work of healthcare providers.

A full meeting report is available to download on the right hand side of this page.


This meeting was part of the Academy of Medical Sciences’ programme of FORUM events. Our FORUM was established in 2003 to recognise the role of industry in medical research, and to catalyse connections across industry and academia. Since then, a range of FORUM activities and events have brought together researchers, research funders and research users from across academia, industry, government, and the charity, healthcare and regulatory sectors. For more information about FORUM and future events, please visit the FORUM homepage or contact FORUM coordinator Dr Claire Cope (

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