Drug compliance and the Morisky Adherence Scale: an expression of concern and a warning
Li-Wan-Po, A and Peterson, GM, Drug compliance and the Morisky Adherence Scale: an expression of concern and a warning, Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 46, (1) pp. 1-3. ISSN 0269-4727 (2020) [Letter or Note in Journal]
What is known and objective: Every prescriber knows that patients often do not take their medicines as prescribed. Hippocrates, the wise man of Kos, knew over two millennia ago. Our objective is to comment on the types of studies aimed at understanding and optimizing drug usage and to draw attention to the need to seek approval before using or citing the Morisky adherence scale.
Comment: The study of prescribing and how patients use their medicines is important. As part of this effort, the results of investigations of how patients adhere to drug prescriptions can be informative. However, the results are meaningful only if the methods used for doing the measurements are valid and made explicit. We were surprised when a team of our authors were threatened with legal action for citing the Morisky Adherence Scale and explaining how some authors had obtained their adherence scores. Adherence studies are but one facet of the study of prescribing aimed at improving clinical outcomes. Other aspects include investigating the quality of prescribing, and how unnecessary medicines can be deprescribed to improve the quality of care and reduce the risk of adverse effects.
What is new and conclusion: The study of optimal prescribing is an important endeavour and adherence studies are but one aspect. We report that using and citing the Morisky Adherence scale in any detail is a risky business. Prior approval is required unless one is prepared to pay up, retrospectively. We require all authors to certify they have no conflicts of interest with respect to the scale.