Abbott hosts Global a:care Congress 2022 to unlock insights on medicine adherence

The India-specific sessions uncovered regional challenges and myths of non-adherence, with leading experts including Dr Shashank Joshi and Dr Agam Vora  

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New Delhi: Poor medicine adherence is a critical public health challenge, preventing people from living their best lives. Nearly 50% of people don’t take their medicines as prescribed, about one-third never fill their first prescription, and 31% stop their medicine earlier than recommended. Thus, despite numerous medical advances, control over certain diseases has not improved, driven largely by non-adherence to treatments.
To crack the code of medicine adherence, many stakeholders from around the world must work together, sharing best practices and identifying common trends to drive this change. Abbott, as a global healthcare leader, recently hosted its second global a:care Congress, with the first session held on October 8, 2022, to help find tangible solutions for the pressing global challenge of medicine non-adherence. The main aim of the Congress is to educate healthcare professionals and empower them to help their patients to better stick with their treatments and build steps toward better health.
A study conducted at Kempe Gowda Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bangalore, showed that non-adherence was observed in 49.67% of patient cases. Non-adherence has a significant social and economic impact, resulting in an increased risk of death, avoidable hospital visits, and significant healthcare expenditure. The problem is not specific to certain diseases, either. For instance, an Indian study suggested that nearly 76.6% of people living with diabetes showed uncontrolled blood sugar levels. For a country like India, with 77 million cases of diabetes, this suggests a significant need to help people manage this at an early stage.
About 8% of the total global health expenditure could be avoided with adherence to medicine. Abbott’s pioneering a:care initiative, integrating digital tools and behavioural science, takes a unique approach to improve adherence by empowering healthcare practitioners to support patients with small, manageable steps to help build better health habits.
The a:care Congress 2022, spearheading these solutions, was well received by members of the medical community, with over 55,000 healthcare professionals worldwide registering for the session. Out of these, close to 35,000 practitioners were from India alone. The a:care program has created a collaborative ecosystem and is globally endorsed by over 50 leading medical societies, with some from India, including the Association of Physicians of India, Diabetes India International, and the Indian Thyroid Society.
Ambati Venu, Vice President, Pharmaceuticals, Abbott India, commented, “As part of our relentless work to improve people’s health, Abbott is committed to improve adherence and access to quality medicines through innovative and sustainable approaches. Through the a:care Congress, we are excited to help shift the thinking from treating diseases to treating people and understand the regional drivers of the challenge. Led by behavioural science principles, we are aiming to reimagine adherence, so we can educate and empower clinicians, and help people take charge of their health.”
It also involved several regional sessions, including in India, with local medical experts to go further to reveal the hidden factors causing these challenges and offer practical solutions for clinical practice. To shed light on India’s perspective of this complex problem, for instance, Dr. Shashank Joshi, Endocrinologist, Diabetologist, and member of Maharashtra’s COVID-19 task force, led a session on the challenges, myths, and realities of non-adherence in the country and participated in global sessions on the topic.
Dr. Shashank Joshi, Endocrinologist, Diabetologist, and member of Maharashtra’s COVID-19 task force, said, “Medication non-adherence places a huge burden on our healthcare system. Among people with diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidaemia, up to 31% of patients never fill their first prescription. Of those who do, only 50 to 70% take their medication regularly. Addressing non-adherence through a patient-centered approach requires the involvement of all health system stakeholders. This can prevent or delay the onset of complications, reduce hospitalization risks and decrease healthcare costs, especially across therapy areas including hypertension, diabetes, and congestive heart failure.”
Dr. Agam Vora, Chest Physician, Advanced Multi Specialty Hospitals, Vile Parle (West). Assoc. Hon. & In-Charge, Department of Chest & TB, Dr. R.N. Cooper Municipal General Hospital, also led a session on physician interventions for adherence in India during the Congress. Further, offering insights from an Indian perspective to go from understanding to action, panel discussions were also be convened with medical experts from a range of specialty areas, including Dr. Peeyush Jain, Dr. Banshi Saboo, Dr. Ajay Kumar, Dr. Shyam Sundar, Dr. Sarita Bajaj, and Dr. P Satishchandra.
Preceding the a:care Congress, Abbott also hosted an exclusive virtual media knowledge session on October 6th, under the theme ‘Cracking the code of adherence – global challenge, tangible solutions.’ This session was led by world-renowned experts, including Prof. John Weinman, King’s College London, UK, Prof. Rob Horne, University College London, UK, and other key speakers.
Prof. John Weinman, Professor of Psychology as applied to Medicines in King’s College, said, “The 2022 a:care Congress has been built on the great success of last year’s ambitious a:care program. It has been planned to reach out to clinicians on a global scale in order to provide current evidence-based presentations on the causes and effective management of treatment adherence challenges in major health problems. By involving local and global experts from medicine and behavioral science, it will provide key insights for clinicians in order to facilitate the ways in which adherence challenges can be understood and managed in clinical practice.”
Abbott is taking a holistic approach to improve adherence, with the a:care Congress serving as a unique platform for experts to come together and share tangible solutions for this pressing issue. This year’s event is a step further to sustaining these conversations, following Abbott’s successful first global a:care Congress in 2021.