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Experts debate money for medication

3 August 2007

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Patients should be paid to adhere to medication regimens, says a British Medical Journal (BMJ) expert.

Tom Burns argues rewarding patients’ co-operation is not new; most mental health practitioners reward patients for “healthy behaviour”.

He says that whether payment represents a just reward or immoral exploitation depends on the circumstances of the transaction.

Far from being unethical and unacceptable, he believes that money for medication is an honest acknowledgment of the perspectives of both parties involved.

But Joanne Shaw, Chairman of Ask About Medicines, believes that payment is not the way to solve non-adherence.

She says that paying for adherence creates perverse incentives and undermines the therapeutic alliance between patients and doctors that is needed for long term care.

Both Tom Burns and Joanne Shaw wrote an editorial in this week’s BMJ.