The ABPI has today endorsed a set of principles on medicines optimisation on how healthcare professionals can support patients to get the most benefit from their medicines.


So what is medicines optimisation and how can it improve the current situation?

Above all, medicines optimisation recognises that we can raise levels of patient care in the NHS through investment in medicines. It is key to ensuring that the right patients get the right medicines at the right time. This approach promotes adherence to treatments, reduces waste in the healthcare system and helps to minimise harm to patients that may occur as a result of poor prescribing. This approach will help ensure that the intrinsic value of medicines to improve healthcare outcomes for patients is realised.

The following two facts highlight the problems of non-adherence and wastage:

  • Approximately 30-50% of medicines are not taken as prescribed, leading to poor health outcomes and unnecessary hospital admissions.
  • Ten days after starting a medicine, almost a third of patients are already non-adherent – of these 55% don’t realise they are not taking their medicines correctly, whilst 45% are intentionally non-adherent.1

In an era of significant economic, demographic and technological challenge it is crucial that patients get the best quality outcomes from medicines – and our members, together with the wider healthcare community, have a key role to play in this.

The guidance, 'Medicines Optimisation: Helping patients to make the most of medicines', is available to download here.

Stephen Whitehead
ABPI Chief Executive


1. N Barber, J Parsons, S Clifford, R Darracott, R Horne. Patients’ problems with new medication for chronic conditions. Qual Saf Health Care 2004; 13: 172-175.

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