Abbott’s medication adherence congress to address one of world’s most critical public health challenges

October 11, 2021 0 By CH Unnikrishnan

US drugs and pharmaceuticals group Abbott is hosting the world’s first medication adherence and behavioural science congress, which will address one of the most critical public health challenges ie. poor patient adherence to treatment. The global congress, themed around the perception shift from treating disease to treating people, will see world renowned medical experts from across therapeutic areas sharing their knowledge, experiences and insights about adherence. The congress is scheduled to be held on October 20th and 21st.

Lack of adherence to medical treatments is a critical public health challenge across the world, especially countries like India, wherein non-adherence in the case of hypertension or cardiovascular complications, for instance, was observed in as many as 49.67 percent of patients. In addition to poor adherence being the most important cause for uncontrolled blood pressure, it is also responsible for uncontrolled blood sugar levels, which is a persistent problem across nearly 76.6 percent diabetics. If untreated, this can lead to complications like risk of ischemic heart disease, retinal diseases or blindness. 

Worldwide, an estimated 31 percent patients never fill their prescriptions, and 50 percent do not take their treatment as indicated by their doctor. Treatment non-adherence has drastic impacts on the health and healthcare system – from the cost of treatment to rising health complications, risk of morbidity and mortality. As a result, management over various diseases has not improved, despite numerous medical advancements., Factors driving this trend are varied and complex, including concerns about medication and cost, accessibility, cultural beliefs and psychological aspects. Creating health resilience to mitigate such challenges is key, and can help people take better control of their health. 

Addressing this challenge of poor adherence can thus be beneficial for most countries, especially India, where diabetic population of 77 million people is rapidly rising. 

As a precursor to the Congress, an exclusive and virtual knowledge session on ‘Adherence: from treating diseases to treating people,’ was addressed by Prof. John Weinman of King’s College, London, who is commonly recognized as a founder of modern health psychology last week. Other eminent speakers included in this session were Dr. Sheri Pruitt, a Clinical Psychologist and Behavioural Science Consultant from USA, and Prof. John Piette, Professor of Health Behaviour & Health Education and Co-Director of the Centre for Managing Chronic Disease, Ann Arbour, USA. The speakers discussed various components of adherence, spanning societal and economic impact, the role of behavioural science, and the way forward for efficient and sustainable adherence solutions. 

“At Abbott, we’re committed to helping people live better, healthier lives. This translates into not just developing treatments, but also transforming the way people in emerging markets use medicines,” says Venu Ambati, Vice President, Pharmaceuticals, Abbott India.  

With the aim to combat non-adherence and reimagine care, Abbott had recently introduced ‘a:care,’ a pioneering program that leverages digital tools and behavioral science to support healthcare professionals. Thereby, it empowers patients to take small, manageable steps to drive better treatment adherence and build lasting change.