If only someone would invent an app that made people adhere to their prescription drug regimens, billions each year could be saved. But until that time, human nature being what it is, nearly half of users of drugs designed to keep them healthy will continue to flaunt the schedule for taking their little pills.

That's what population health company Healthentic found when it reviewed nearly 100,000 patient records in its database. The cost to society of medication non-adherence it came up with is certain to raise eyebrows: between $100 billion and $289 billion every year in direct costs. And, employers take note: Healthentic estimates that "losses in productivity due to health related factors could multiply that by 2.3 times."

Healthentic studied three major disease conditions: diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.