Rate of Adherance to Long-term Therapies on 50%

In 2003, the World Health Organization found the rate of adherence to long-term therapies in the general population of developed countries is approximately 50%.

The consequences of poor adherence to long-term therapies are poor health outcomes and increased health care costs. Poor adherence severely compromises the effectiveness of treatments, making it a critical issue in population health. Interventions aimed at improving adherence provide a significant positive return on investment through primary prevention of risk factors and secondary prevention of adverse health outcomes.

Improving adherence also enhances patient safety. Patients face several potentially life-threatening risks if not appropriately supported by the health system. Most of the care needed for chronic conditions is based on patient self-management, use of medical technology for monitoring, and changes in the patient's lifestyle.


Increasing the effectiveness of adherence may have a far greater impact on the health of the population than any improvement in specific medical treatments. Significant cost-savings and increases in the effectiveness of health interventions are attributable to low-cost interventions for improving adherence.

Access to medications is necessary but insufficient in itself for the successful treatment of disease. Without addressing adherence, advances in biomedical technology will fail to realize their potential to reduce the burden of chronic illness.

If a current medicine is effective, it is more important to address the process versus changing the treatment. Patients that are not compliant will not get better results with a new drug if their compliance doesn't improve.

Source: World Health Organization – Adherence to Long-Term Therapies-Evidence for action (2003) ISBN 92-4-154599-2