Patients' compliance with physician's advice in Costa Rica

Maria Nuria Homedes Beguer, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The penetration of the western-developed pharmaceutical industry in developing nations has had an impact not only on access to medicines but also on the value attached to medicines and the way they are consumed. People in developing countries have more faith in medicines than in doctors. Medicines constitute a large share of government health expenses but little emphasis has been placed on how medicines are being used. This dissertation includes a discussion on the penetration of pharmaceuticals in the Costa Rican society, a thorough literature review on patients' compliance with medical recommendations (including studies conducted in developed and developing countries, factors affecting adherence, issues involved in measuring compliance, treatment compliance models, and strategies to improve patients' recollection and compliance with medical recommendations), results of a compliance survey conducted in Costa Rica, and a presentation of a compliance model for developing societies. The Costa Rican survey includes observations on 505 medical encounters involving 13 general practitioners and 1 pediatrician in 1 urban and 2 rural clinics. Home visits yielded information on patients' adherence to medical recommendations on 404 patients and 988 medicines. The level of patients' adherence in Costa Rica is similar to what has been documented in developed societies but the strategies to improve adherence are different. Costa Ricans are prone to follow the behaviors advertised through the media or recommended by persons they consider knowlegeable in health matters and with whom they can have a personal relationship. Programs to improve adherence to medical regimens should include mass media campaigns, a re-organization of the way drugs are being dispensed, and educating health professionals to communicate and establish meaningful relationships with their patients.

Subject Area

Public health|Surgery

Recommended Citation

Homedes Beguer, Maria Nuria, "Patients' compliance with physician's advice in Costa Rica" (1990). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9109976.