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New EU project BEAMER seeks to improve patient adherence to prescribed treatments

An international consortium will investigate factors affecting patient treatment adherence and develop a model to assess and understand patient needs, with the goal to provide better patient support, improve outcomes and promote further adherence.

PORTO, Portugal, 9 November 2021 – Today, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) announced the launch of a promising project that seeks to improve patient treatment adherence, the lack of which (non-adherence) is associated with negative patient outcomes and significant costs.

Led by Pfizer, co-led by Merck KGaA (Darmstadt, Germany) and managed by the University of Porto, the five-year project – “BEhavioral and Adherence Model for improving quality, health outcomes and cost-Effectiveness of healthcaRe (BEAMER)” – brings together 28 European partners from academia, civil society and industry to jointly address this goal.

The challenge

Patient non-adherence to prescribed treatment poses a formidable health challenge. It affects patient health outcomes significantly, contributing to 200,000 premature deaths in the EU annually, and places a heavy economic burden on the healthcare system, leading to an estimated 125B euros in avoidable hospitalisations, emergency care and adult outpatient visits each year. Despite existing research on disease-specific treatment adherence, there are few broad insights regarding how to improve adherence across healthcare. To address this, BEAMER aims to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the factors that influence patient adherence, irrespective of the therapeutic area, and enable stakeholders to design effective solutions that could promote broad and consistent impact within a real-world context.

BEAMER Consortium
The BEAMER Consortium

The solution

To achieve these objectives, the project will create a generalised model of the significant factors affecting non-adherent behaviour, grounded in behavioural theory. This will allow the project team to define the problem of non-adherence and provide guidance for healthcare stakeholders to develop and implement cost-effective tools and solutions that directly target BEAMER Press Release patient needs, potentially contributing to enhanced patient outcomes and reduced health system costs. Although disease-agnostic, the model is intended to be tailorable with disease-specific inputs to increase its prediction power and optimise patient support strategies. This degree of flexibility would then enable the model to be widely applicable and responsive to ongoing changes in various populations.

“Adherence to therapy is a public health problem, as 50% of patients don’t take their medication as prescribed. This can have a significant impact on their quality of life and health outcomes (including leading to premature death), in addition to increasing health care costs,” says Elísio Costa, BEAMER Project Coordinator and Director of the Competence Centre on Active and Healthy Ageing (Porto4Ageing) at the University of Porto. “To overcome this challenge, we need to better understand the underlying factors behind non-adherence and to work closely with patients and healthcare professionals, who stand to be the main beneficiaries of BEAMER’s potential solution.”

“We are incredibly excited about the potential of BEAMER to improve treatment adherence among patients with many different conditions, from all walks of life,” added Claire Everitt, BEAMER industry Project Lead and Engineering Team Lead at Pfizer. “The positive impacts of successful drug development and diagnosis are greatly reduced if patients aren’t following their prescribed treatment regime. We hope this project will provide the tools to help industry, doctors and healthcare systems improve treatment adherence rates by identifying and addressing patient needs.”


BEAMER collaborations

Supported by a grant from IMI, the project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 101034369. This joint undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations [EFPIA], and associated partner Link2Trials. The total budget is 11.9 M€ for a project duration of 60 months.