March 3, 2017

The top ten pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing and sales than on research and development.1 A similar amount is spent on line items such as insurance company rebates to ensure patients can access the drugs their doctors prescribe.2 A pharmaceutical company may spend twice as much getting the patient to the retail pharmacy counter as it spends on inventing and testing drugs in the first place. What happens next? What does the patient do when making the final decision to which all this investment has led?


  • As many as 30 percent of people don’t pick up their prescribed medications.
  • Among those who do pick up that first prescription, as many as 30 percent stop taking their medicine within 30 days.
  • Up to 60 percent stop taking their medicine within six months.


Medicines are worthless if people don’t take them and the consequences for patients and the healthcare system as a whole are significant. Nearly $300 billion is lost in additional avoidable medical spending each year when patients don’t take their medicines as prescribed.5 In our first annual Patient Adherence Influence Report, Syneos HealthTM set out to understand the most influential factors driving patient adherence or non-adherence and to answer the question: Will the patient cross the finish line at the retail pharmacy, or will he or she walk away?


Click the Download button for the full PDF of the report.