The compounding pharmacy sector could play a more important role in increasing adherence to treatments for chronic diseases, by providing a niche solution to one of the key obstacles to adherence identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In their report, ‘Adherence to Long-Term therapies – Evidence for Action’, the organisation claims that strategies to help patients stick to their long-term medical plan, “…may have a far greater impact on the health of the population than any improvement in specific medical treatments.”
The report goes on to outline five key barriers to treatment adherence:
- Social and economic factors – people in a low socio-economic demographic may find it difficult to access quality health care; and those with low education levels may not be aware of the importance of adherence to medical treatment plans
- The health care team/system – overworked healthcare providers are unable to deliver a high level of care and one-on-one service; health care facilities and some medicines may be hard to access in some areas.
- The characteristics of the disease
- Disease therapies – how easy the therapy is to follow and fit into a person’s lifestyle; undesirable side effects of the treatment
- Patient-related factors – lack of motivation, disagreement with their diagnosis or treatment plan, distrust of their medical team, detrimental influence of family or friends.
WHO’s top two barriers, ‘social and economic factors’ and the ‘health care system’ are complex and far-reaching. Improving these factors will require systemic and cultural change along with considerable funds.
Barrier no. 4 however – disease therapies – is the area where the compounding pharmacy sector can make the most contribution, in a low- cost way, by providing viable and sometimes preferable solutions to the treatment options offered by drug manufacturers.
In this capacity, compounding pharmacies can help in three main ways:
- When a drug manufacturer permanently discontinues production of a medication, a compounding chemist can help by continuing to make regular supplies of the medication for the patient in their local laboratories. This also applies when medication becomes unavailable for a period due to disruptions to supply or unexpected demand.
- If a patient is having trouble swallowing a medication (very young children and stroke patients are good examples) a compounding chemist may be able to make up their medication as a liquid or troche, which makes administration much easier to achieve.
- A compounding chemist can also make up topical treatments for pain management.
WHO claims that in developed countries only 50 per cent of patients on long-term treatment plans for chronic illnesses actually stick to their plans, while the rate in developing countries is believed to be much lower.
For more information on how compounding can help your patient’s stick to the medical treatment plan contact National Custom Compounding on 1300 731 755 or drop a line to [email protected].