Top Reasons Patients Fail to Fill Post-discharge Prescriptions (and what you can do about it)

Awareness and Adherence

By: ConnectiveRx's A&A Team

Let’s face it. As a pharmaceutical brand manager, one of your core responsibilities is to know your brand’s patient adherence profile:

  • What percent of patients fail to fill their initial prescription?
  • How long do they stay on therapy before discontinuing?
  • Perhaps most importantly, why do they discontinue?

While this need-to-know information is crucial for any brand, it is especially important for brands prescribed as part of hospital discharge because of the risk of costly and sometimes catastrophic hospital readmissions.

Patients who try to fill a post-discharge prescription often face frustrating access challenges, including:

  • Prior authorization (PA) requirements
  • Prescriptions that need clarification
  • Or, product inventory outages

And one of the strongest deterrents to post-discharge first-fill adherence is patient out-of-pocket cost. Why? Because hospitals and health systems with stringent no-see/hard-to-see pharmaceutical representative policies make it almost impossible to hand-deliver coupon and copay support material to institution-based prescribers.

What Causes Primary Non-Adherence?

That last-noted adherence challenge, patient out-of-pocket cost, should be a principal focus since it is a core driver of non-adherence. In this survey of ~3,000 Americans, researchers sought to pinpoint the reason for primary non-adherence — failure to fill the initial prescription. When asked, “What was the main reason your prescription was not filled or picked up?,” 67% of respondents most often cited cost.

Did you catch that? Fully two-thirds of survey respondents called out cost as the main reason for primary non-adherence.

What are the Best Ways to Remove Non-Adherence Barriers? 

So, what steps can you take to help patients successfully transition from in-patient care to properly treated post-discharge care? For one thing, remove as many non-cost roadblocks as possible:

  • Ensure that pharmacies are stocked
  • Train HCPs to prescribe your brand correctly avoiding pharmacist clarification calls
  • Help prescribers navigate PA requirements

But the most important step is to give key stakeholders the tools they need to reduce patient out-of-pocket costs. Provide generous and multi-fill copay support. And for hospital-based prescribers who can’t or won’t see your sales reps, deliver that copay support electronically at the point of care.

These HCPs want to see savings offers while they’re in workflow. ConnectiveRx research found that while 21% of prescribers in health/hospital systems already have access to patient savings programs in their EHR, an additional 59% want access to patient savings in the EHR. [1]

Showcase Savings Offers with ConnectiveRx's ScriptGuide messages

ConnectiveRx has created a purpose-built solution to help get your savings offers into the e-prescribing screen of key hospital and health-system EHRs. Our ScriptGuide messages, when delivered through the Select EHR Network, render patient-savings messages at the point of care throughout ambulatory care, health, and hospital systems in blue-chip EHR platforms including Allscripts, Epic, athenaOne, and Practice Fusion.

ScriptGuide has been proven to improve first-fill rates at hospital discharge. In a national randomized patient-level test vs. control analysis of over 120 ConnectiveRx-managed programs covering 25+ therapeutic categories, ScriptGuide improved NRx fill rates across all studied therapeutic classes and delivered an average Rx lift of 5.11%.[2]

Maybe it’s time you learned more about personalized, EHR-generated patient savings alerts that help patients get started on the path to post-discharge medication adherence. To find out more about ScriptGuide delivered via the Select EHR Network, reach out to us today.


1. Source: ConnectiveRx, Prescriber activity and drug rep access research, August 7-19, 2019. n=334 prescribers in clearly defined hospital/hospital system-owned practices. Q: How do you get, and how would you like to get, information about savings programs available for your patients from drug manufacturers (e.g., copay cards, coupons)? Please select your preferences for the top 3 means of education in each column. Note: "Other" of 4% not displayed"

2.Measurement is based on de-identified healthcare claims data at an Rx level from January 2018 through December 2020.

Benefits of Pharmaceutical Point-of-Care Awareness & Adherence Messaging 

EHR messaging to HCPs is vital for increasing brand awareness and script lift. These messages help get the right prescription written for the right medication and the right patient. 

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