Medication non-adherence and asthma treatment cost

Bruce G. Bender, Cynthia Rand

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to describe the impact of asthma treatment non-adherence on patients and the healthcare system, and to outline areas of responsibility towards improved adherence. Recent findings: The average cost of healthcare expenses for each person in the United States in 2002 was US$5440. In that year, there were 800 million medical encounters. However, adherence research suggests that a significant portion of the healthcare advice and prescriptions dispensed in these encounters was wasted. The annual cost to the healthcare system caused by non-adherence has been estimated at US$300 billion dollars. The responsibility for improving adherence has usually been placed on the patient and healthcare provider. However, if non-adherence is to be more effectively addressed, other components of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries must also take responsibility. Summary: Treatment non-adherence compromises treatment effectiveness and drives up the healthcare costs related to asthma and other chronic conditions. Collaborative efforts to improve adherence to treatments for chronic illness, recently promoted by the World Health Organization, must include multiple components of the healthcare system, must recognize that the costs of adherence promotion are outweighed by cost savings after improved adherence, and must support research to develop new and better strategies for improving adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-195
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in allergy and clinical immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Adherence
  • Asthma
  • Cost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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