Abbott to host first global Congress on medication adherence & behavioural science

From October 20th-21st, 2021, the organization is convening world-renowned experts across therapeutic areas to share their knowledge, experiences and insights about adherence

New Delhi: In India and across the world, the lack of adherence to medical treatments is a critical public health challenge. To drive a collaborative approach towards improved adherence, Abbott is hosting the first global Congress on medication adherence and behavioral science on October 20th-21st, 2021.
Spearheading the conversation, the organization is convening world-renowned experts across therapeutic areas to share their knowledge, experiences and insights about adherence. This can have significant implications for India, wherein non-adherence in the case of hypertension or cardiovascular complications, for instance, was observed in as many as 49.67% of patients.
In addition to poor adherence being the most important cause for uncontrolled blood pressure, as per the World Health Organization, it is also responsible for uncontrolled blood sugar levels, which is a persistent problem across nearly 76.6% diabetics. If untreated, this can lead to complications like risk of ischemic heart disease, retinal diseases or blindness. Addressing this challenge of poor adherence can thus be beneficial for India’s rising diabetic population of 77 million people (8.9% of the country’s population).
As a precursor to the Congress, an exclusive and virtual knowledge session on ‘Adherence: from treating diseases to treating people,’ was addressed by Prof. John Weinman of King’s College, London, who is commonly recognized as a founder of modern health psychology. Other eminent speakers included Dr. Sheri Pruitt, a Clinical Psychologist and Behavioural Science Consultant from USA, and Prof. John Piette, Professor of Health Behaviour & Health Education and Co-Director of the Centre for Managing Chronic Disease, Ann Arbour, USA. The speakers discussed various components of adherence, spanning societal and economic impact, the role of behavioural science, and the way forward for efficient and sustainable adherence solutions.
Worldwide, an estimated 31% patients never fill their prescriptions,[v] and 50% do not take their treatment as indicated by their doctor.[vi] Treatment non-adherence has drastic impacts on our health and healthcare system – from the cost of treatment to rising health complications, risk of morbidity and mortality. As a result, management over various diseases has not improved, despite numerous medical advancements.[vii],[viii] Factors driving this trend are varied and complex, including concerns about medication and cost, accessibility, cultural beliefs and psychological aspects. Creating health resilience to mitigate such challenges is key, and can help people take better control of their health.
Venu Ambati, Vice President, Pharmaceuticals, Abbott India commented “At Abbott, we’re committed to helping people live better, healthier lives. This translates into not just developing treatments, but also transforming the way people in emerging markets use medicines. We aim to leverage innovative approaches to shift thinking from ‘treating diseases to treating people.’ With a:care, we have developed a unique program that reaches healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers to improve treatment adherence. Today, we are delighted to extend these learnings through the first global Congress on medication adherence and behavioural science. By rethinking what it means to provide care, we can help people take charge of their health.”
With the aim to combat non-adherence and reimagine care, Abbott introduced ‘a:care,’ a pioneering program that leverages digital tools and behavioral science to support healthcare professionals. Thereby, it empowers patients to take small, manageable steps to drive better treatment adherence and build lasting change.
Dr. Sheri Pruitt, Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Science Consultant discussed the links between behaviour and adherence, saying, “Adherence is an observable and measurable behavior that is typically repeated, such as taking a daily medication or exercising. When patients don’t adhere to advice, behavioral science can provide interventions that help them change their behavior.”
Commenting on a:care’s unique approach to addressing the problem of non-adherence, Prof. John Weinman, Professor of Psychology as applied to Medicines in King’s College said, “Being involved in the a:care program has been a great experience as it has been wonderful to see, first -hand, the great interest and responsiveness it has engendered in doctors in so many countries. It is an ambitious and novel program, which is reaching out to doctors to enhance their understanding and support of treatment adherence in their patients. Never before has a program focused on the crucial role of doctors and provided such a well-planned and evidence-based approach to improving treatment adherence.”
Discussing digitalization as a key enabler of adherence, Prof. John Piette, Professor of Health Behavior & Health Education and Co-Director of the Center for Managing Chronic Disease commented, “Patients need more support for self-care than clinicians and health systems can realistically provide during face-to-face visits.  Evidence from around the world has shown that a variety of digital tools can support patients’ efforts to take their medications as prescribed, communicate with healthcare teams about emerging problems, and improve their overall health.”