A Review of Barriers to Medication Adherence: A Framework for Driving Policy Options

Document Type

Technical Report


Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Medical Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Failure to adhere to recommended medication regimens is a real problem that has negative consequences for patients, providers, health plans, employers, industry, and society. The national dialogue on health reform that is currently under way includes a discussion of ways to improve care for persons with chronic disease and to improve the value and efficiency of health care. Strategies to improve adherence to medication therapy fall squarely in these discussions, since nonadherence affects the ability to effectively manage and control chronic diseases and contributes to the costs society incurs. This literature review was requested as background for a conference focusing on policy options to improve medication adherence. It identifies barriers to medication adherence with a strong evidence base and discusses key lessons from the literature that are relevant for the policy discussion.

Rights Information

© 2009 RAND Corporation