Washington, D.C., September 13,  2016 – American Heart Association President Steven Houser, Ph.D., FAHA issued the following comments today on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new Vital Signs report, “Disparities in Antihypertensive Medication Nonadherence Among Medicare Part D Beneficiaries:”

“This new CDC report confirms what we have known for some time: while access and affordability have an impact on whether Americans take their high blood pressure medications, there are many other reasons that patients don’t take their prescriptions.

As a result, and as this report notes, only about half of Americans with high blood pressure currently have it under control. Of the 18.5 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries who use blood pressure medicine, 4.9 million were non-adherent to their regimen. Skipping their medications sets these individuals up for more health hazards and worse health outcomes. This is particularly disturbing because hypertension remains a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the No.1 and No. 5 killers of Americans, respectively.

As the report highlights, the variety and complexity of barriers – not to mention the potential combination of these barriers – means no single solution will close this adherence gap.  Consequently, our association supports taking a multifaceted approach. Policies should be put in place that tackle established reasons for non-adherence, while taking into account the racial/ethnic groups, states and geographic variations identified in the report.

Medication adherence is a serious concern for our association. We thank the CDC for bringing new information to bear on this life-threatening problem among the Medicare population, and remain committed to advocating for innovative approaches to address it.”


ContactAbbey Dively (202) 785-7905 abbey.dively@heart.org