Uppsala potential site for new competence center for better medication adherence

2022-05-10

Just a minute… Björn Wettermark and Marie Ekenberg, Professor and PhD student in Pharmacoepidemiology and involved in COST Action ENABLE, the European collaboration for better medication adherence that in May met for the first time in Málaga.

Björn Wettermark and Marie Ekenberg, Faculty of Pharmacy
Björn Wettermark and Marie Ekenberg, Faculty of Pharmacy

What brought COST Action ENABLE to Málaga?
“Inadequate medication adherence during drug treatments is a global challenge. According to the WHO, every other patient with a chronic disease have difficulties taking their prescribed medication correctly, costing enormous amount in terms of both suffering and economy. Therefore, EU's Horizon 2020 program is funding COST Action ENABLE, a four-year initiative in which organisations in 40 countries work together to provide effective tools for better medication adherence. After eighteen months online, we are finally able to meet in person, which undoubtedly adds important values ​​to our work.”

What was in focus during the meeting?
We were close to fifty participants from 33 different countries and another twenty who connected via link that engaged in, among many things, presentations of results from our four working groups. For example, a mapping of unmet needs and barriers to monitor medication adherence and use new technical solutions for improvement in different countries, as well as a proposal for a framework to name and group all apps and digital services available on the market. We also had a training school with a focus on patients, communication and methods of measuring medication adherence. In short, it was three well-planned and very eventful days.

What awaits next?
“One of COST Action ENABLE's prioritised tasks is creating a digitally searchable library of quality-assured methods for monitoring and increasing medication adherence. We have now completed the digital structure and initiated an inventory of available technologies and effective ways to implement them in healthcare systems. In parallel, we work with education and communication to further spread the results we accomplish.”

Björn Wettermark lectures in Málaga
Björn Wettermark lectures in Málaga

You have funding throughout 2024, who will continue your work after that?
“We are in talks with ESPACOMP, an interdisciplinary organisation about future management of the database we are now building. In parallel, we prepare to establish national competence centers in each country participating in the project. Our initial assessment is that Uppsala - with Faculties of both Pharmacy and Medicine, the Medical Products Agency, the Region Uppsala and geographical proximity to Stockholm - has the breadth needed to lead the work in Sweden, and this autumn we will gather a number of relevant stakeholders for a first meeting.”

What else is on your desks right now?
“Besides leading the COST Action ENABLE Working group in charge on communication, we are currently preparing a survey that we will distribute over Europe in the early summer to get a clearer picture of how people who work within health care in different countries work to measure, for example, improvements in medication adherence.”

Even the ancient Greeks admitted to having problems with adherence. Why will COST Action ENABLE succeed?
“The fact that we combine academy, healthcare and industry in 40 European countries gives us access to a wide range of competencies, but such a breadth also means that the importance of meeting in person can hardly be overestimated. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm has been great from the start, but we are all experiencing significantly increased energy from the meeting in Málaga, and if the geographical borders remain open, we have really good conditions for success!

FACTS: COST ACTION ENABLE

  • Is a network of researchers, clinicians and industry partners from 40 countries that 2020–2024 will focus on:
  • Stimulating multidisciplinary medication adherence expertise centers in different European countries.
  • Reviewing novel adherence enhancing technologies and catalysing their implementation.
  • Organising conferences, stakeholder meetings and short-term fellowships for early career investigators.

MORE INFORMATION

CONTACT

Björn Wettermark
Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology
bjorn.wettermark@farmaci.uu.se

Marie Ekenberg
PhD Student, Pharmacoepidemiology
marie.ekenberg@farmaci.uu.se

Text: Magnus Alsne, photo: Mikael Wallerstedt, COST Action ENABLE

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Last modified: 2022-03-31