Pitt Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine Win National Contest to Improve Medication Adherence

By: Amy Charley

The National Consumers League and its partners announced students from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and Pitt School of Medicine have won the National Challenge Award and the Creative Inter-Professional Team Event Award in its fourth annual Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge. The competition is designed to engage health profession students and faculty across the nation by encouraging teams to develop creative ideas, events, and initiatives to raise public awareness about the importance of medication adherence. More than 100 health profession schools in 21 states participated in the competition.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy partnered with medical, dental, and nursing students to counsel more than 1,100 patients about proper medication adherence both on and off campus. The team created a standardized intervention for patients that could be applied to different health care settings, including community pharmacies, hospitals, and medical clinics. The Pitt pharmacy students also held a variety of community outreach events and educated patients on the importance of adherence by distributing Script Your Future materials, offering on-site blood pressure screenings and counseling patients who shared drug therapy concerns.

Via social media, the school shared daily tips on improving medication adherence to hundreds of followers. Additionally, the team created a public service announcement, stressing the importance of taking medications as directed and spreading the Script Your Future message.

Research shows that nearly three out of four Americans do not take their medications as directed. This may lead to devastating results, particularly for people with chronic conditions. National health advocacy leaders have recognized poor medication adherence as a public health priority, the outcome of which leads to more than one-third of medicine-related hospitalizations and almost 125,000 U.S. deaths each year. Improved medication adherence leads to better health outcomes and reduced total health care cost.