African-Americans and women are less likely to adhere to doctor’s orders when it comes to taking certain medications, according to a recent study released by pharmaceutical company giant CVS/Caremark in Rhode Island.

The study, released earlier this month, highlights information gathered by researchers regarding adherence to drug regiments of certain medications, particularly statins–drugs geared toward preventing cardiovascular diseases such as high cholesterol and hypertension. Researchers at Caremark/CVS and Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that at least 50 percent of non-white patients failed to follow their doctor’s orders when it came to taking medications as prescribed.

“These findings help us better understand the impact of certain demographic factors on medication adherence,” said Niteesh Choudhry, a physician at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Choudhry added that because many patients rely on drug therapy for primary and secondary treatment of ailments, including heart disease, following a routine and consistent medication regiment is critical to prevention.

Among the findings as to why African-Americans and other non-whites are more likely to skip dosages of prescribed meds, researchers found that side effects from the meds, economics and inconsistent relationships with a primary care physician all play a role.

“Sometimes I can’t afford to pay for all of my medications and have to skip dosages or split pills in order to extend them until the next refill date when insurance will pay for them,” said Gloria B., an 84-year-old widow in New Jersey. “I had heart surgery several years ago and have been on cardio meds for years.”

To view the complete CVS/Caremark study, visit