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New IPA research debunks myths on millennials’ medicine habits

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18-34-year-olds find medicines more confusing than older people do, they are more dissatisfied with the information they receive about prescription medicines, and are likely to take more than they are prescribed.

These are just some of the surprising findings revealed in a new IPA Healthcare Group Survey, carried out with the Bilendi Healthcare Panel and published today (12 December 2017).

The survey, which explores nationwide patient sentiment and behaviour regarding prescribed medicine, reveals findings that show millennials’ medicine habits differ to perceived assumptions.

Key highlights include:

  • When considering whether taking multiple medications a day is confusing, 30% of younger patients (18-34s) are much more likely to find it confusing than their older counterparts (55+, 11%).
  • 30% of 18-34s say they still have additional questions/follow-up questions about their medicine, compared with 18% of 35-54s and 9% of 55+.
  • Overall, 64% of 18-34s feel satisfied with the preliminary information given to them (e.g. how to take medicine, side effects etc), compared with 90% among those aged 55+. Furthermore, female patients also indicate to being less satisfied than males.
  • All age ranges would most like to find out about their medicine via an ‘easy to understand’ leaflet.

Says Sarah Sowerby, Member of the IPA Healthcare Group and Founder of Wordbird: “These findings really should come as no surprise. After all, millennials are a breed of buccaneers who – reportedly – sail the high seas of ‘entitlement’, rejecting many of the norms of generations before. But for those of us who spend our lives in the world of healthcare advertising, the IPA survey tells a fascinating story of an under-informed youth and a surprisingly savvy older generation. Medicines need to be properly discussed with the people who will take them, whether they are old or young. They should feel confident to ask all their questions and be able to find good support information, written in a way they can understand – in digital and analogue formats.”

Says Phil Bartlett, Chair of the IPA Healthcare Group and MD of CDM: “We all know that the NHS is stretched – yet it’s both an unsurprising and disappointing truth that in this research we see only 60% of people taking their medicine as prescribed. My colleagues in the IPA Healthcare Group see a huge opportunity for agencies and pharma clients to make life-changing differences by supporting patients and doctors with the right information at the right time to encourage people to take their medicines properly, thereby removing some of the waste from an already overextended system. After all, the least effective, most expensive medicines in the world are the ones that don’t get taken properly, or even worse, not at all.”

The IPA research is free to members, and £50 to non-members. It is available to download from www.ipa.co.uk/insight