Press Releases

Don't miss a dose: expanding measures to keep patients on their medication will save lives and tax dollars

Mar 9, 2016

New research report shows half of Canadians not taking medications as directed - pharmacists taking the lead to keep them on track

TORONTO, March 9, 2016 /CNW/ - Half of Canadians with chronic diseases don't take their medication as prescribedi – leading to serious health complications, hospitalization and even death.  A new report from Shoppers Drug Mart and CARP – A New Vision for Aging in Canada concludes that pharmacist interventions are helping to keep Canadians on their medications, thereby improving patient health and saving the system health care dollars.

Although innocently missing a dose may not seem like a matter of life and death, not adhering to medication direction can have very serious implications.  When medications are not taken properly or given the chance to be effective, a condition could worsen or complications like blindness, a heart attack, or a stroke could arise.  Non-adherence causes 69 per cent of medication-related hospitalizationsii and the estimated annual cost to the health care system is $7-9 billion.iii

The new Sustainable Solutions Report: Pharmacist Interventions in Medication Adherence outlines the types of services pharmacists can now offer in many provinces to support adherence.  They include follow-up calls to ensure patients are picking up prescription refills on time; assessing, adapting, and renewing prescriptions; and providing medication in compliance packs so those on multiple treatments can ensure they're taking the right medication at the right time of day.  The report also highlights clinical research that clearly demonstrates these types of interventions are having a real impact on improving patients' adherence.

"In recent years, provincial governments have recognized how pharmacists can offer accessible, convenient services that improve the health of patients and save already stretched healthcare dollars," says Mike Motz, President, Shoppers Drug Mart.  "This report clearly shows how further expansion of pharmacist services can help to resolve medication issues on the spot and keep patients on track."

Older Canadians At Greater Risk
Older Canadians are particularly at risk because they are more likely to be on a medication for chronic conditions or to be on multiple treatments at once.  CARP members on average have three chronic medical conditions and, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, almost two-thirds of those aged 65 and over take five or more prescription drugs.iv

According to a national poll of CARP members aged 50 and over, 86 per cent admit to having at least one adherence issue.  Of those, 80 per cent have unintentionally skipped a dose, 28 per cent admit they have missed or been late in refilling a prescription, and 24 per cent have missed, or delayed renewing a prescription. 

"Our members have strong relationships with their pharmacists and count on them to make sure they take their medication correctly," says Moses Znaimer, President/CEO of CARP – A New Vision of Aging for Canada.  "We partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart on this report because we fully support expanding the role of pharmacists in encouraging medication adherence in order to improve the health of Canadians and the sustainability or our health care system."

For the full Sustainable Solutions Report: Pharmacist Interventions in Medication Adherence, visit 

About Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation
Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation is one of the most recognized and trusted names in Canadian retailing.  The Company is the licensor of full-service retail drug stores operating under the name Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmaprix in Québec).  With more than 1,250 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix stores operating in prime locations in each province and two territories, the Company is one of the most convenient retailers in Canada.  The Company also licenses or owns 49 medical clinic pharmacies operating under the name Shoppers Simply Pharmacy (Pharmaprix Simplement Santé in Québec) and five luxury beauty destinations operating as Murale.  As well, the Company owns and operates over 59 Shoppers Home Health Care stores, making it the largest Canadian retailer of home healthcare products and services.  In addition to its retail store network, the Company owns Shoppers Drug Mart Specialty Health Network Inc., a provider of specialty drug distribution, pharmacy and comprehensive patient support services, and MediSystem Technologies Inc., a provider of pharmaceutical products and services to long-term care facilities. Shoppers Drug Mart is a unique and independent operating division of Loblaw Companies Limited.

For more information, visit

About CARP
CARP—A New Vision of Aging for Canada is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating for a New Vision of Aging for Canada, social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP seeks to ensure that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and provides value-added benefits, products and services to our members. Through our network of chapters across Canada, CARP is dedicated to building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP's mission.

CARP calls for national standards of accessible and affordable health care and in its "One Patient" paper, for the health care system to provide a seamless continuum of care that ordinary families can navigate as they take increasingly more responsibility for their post-acute and chronic care needs. Community pharmacists play a vital role in a multi-disciplinary care team and they offer essential support in the area of medication adherence. Please visit  for more information.

i BC Medical Journal.  Available at:  Accessed June 19, 2015.
ii BC Medical Journal.  Available at:  Accessed June 19, 2015.
iii BC Medical Journal.  Available at:  Accessed June 19, 2015.
iv Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Adverse Drug Reaction–Related Hospitalizations Among Seniors, 2006 to 2011. Available online at:

SOURCE Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation

For further information: David Mircheff, Environics Communications, 416-969-2776,; Lana Gogas, Shoppers Drug Mart, 416-490-1220 extension 5141,