Take Home Message: It's known that patients don't always follow doctors' orders and few systems exist to address this. In my experience, the best way to stay on track is to have regular (twice annual) follow-up with a physician who is monitoring critical values like cholesterol & blood pressure and reviews the medication list to explain the utility and benefit of continued medication adherence. It's not sophisticated, doesn't involve technology, but does work.
Just half of people who are given a prescription to prevent heart disease continue to get their medications refilled over time. And among people who have already had a heart attack, one out of every three fails to continue getting their prescription refilled. The studies looked at seven medications, including aspirin, blood pressure drugs, and cholesterol-lowering statins, typically intended for life-long use. They estimate that 130,000 people die each year because they don't adhere to their prescriptions.