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Medication Non-Adherence

Medication non-adherence is a global problem

There are billions of prescriptions filled annually, yet people get sicker, return to hospitals or die needlessly due to medication errors and medication non-adherence. Between 20% to 80% of patients make errors in taking medication and 20% to 60% stop taking medications before being instructed to do so. In addition, 16 percent of patients fail to fill a new prescription and 30% of prescriptions are never refilled.

After living through this nightmare and caring for aging parents, it was time to use our engineering, robotics, software and business expertise to help solve this global problem. We founded Medipense to develop products that are simple to use for seniors, yet secure and feature packed for caregivers and health care providers.

In Canada, with relatively low costs for healthcare and medications, up to 72% of those afflicted with COPD, 47% of those with Cancer, 45% of those with Diabetes and 37% of those suffering depression are rated non-adherent.

Medication Non-Adherence Rates, Canada

What Medication Non-adherence is

Medication adherence is the extent to which patients take the medications as prescribed by their physicians. Medication non-adherence is the extent to which patients do not take them. This may include dosing, frequency, specific timing, and conditions such as with or without food. It includes the concept of sticking with your medication.

Non-adherence can be due to the patient, the caregiver or the health care facility. The reasons are abundant and include things like forgetfulness, errors such as wrong drug, wrong  patient, wrong time and even factors such as cost and affordability.

  • 40% of elderly patients do not know the purpose of their medication.
  • Only 20% know of the consequences of non-adherence.
  • Less than 6% know about possible side effects of the drugs prescribed for them.
  • Up to two thirds of elderly patients render their medications useless by taking them at the wrong times.


According to the NIH

The cost of treating non-adherent chronic disease patients is at least twice as high as adherent patients with the same conditions

Despite receiving written and verbal information, 27% of older people discharged from hospital after heart failure were classed as non-adherent within 30 days. The majority remembered receiving oral information, but less than one in four recalled any written information they were given. Almost one in ten did not remember receiving any information at all.

Half the patients surveyed could not recall the dose of their medication and nearly two-thirds did not know what time of day to take them.

How the RxPense Can Help

To help better manage your medication schedule and adherence, a pill dispenser and medication reminder application may be useful. For example, with the RxPense®, medications are securely locked into the device and dispensed only when needed. When it is time to take your medications, you are contacted by alert, SMS, Email or other notification. When you consume the medications, you confirm consumption and answer brief surveys on how you are feeling. Your physician or caregiver may receive alerts when you do not take your medications and may also monitor your progress in the on-line patient portal.

The RxPense securely stores your medications and prevents unauthorized access, under-dosing or overdosing by ensuring only the right person takes the right pills at the right time.


  1. Montague T, Mannes L.J, Cochrane B, Gogovor A, Aylen J, Martin L, Nemis-White J. (2017). Nonadherence to Prescribed Therapy: A Persistent Contributor to the Care Gap; http://www.hcic-sssc.com accessed on 02 Feb 2020.
  2. Express Scripts Canada 2019 Prescription Drug Trend Report – nonadherence an alarming trend, April 30, 2019

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