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Medication Adherence Expertise Center Of the northern Netherlands (MAECON)

MAECON combines multidisciplinary adherence expertise with complementary knowledge Facility
MAECON combines multidisciplinary adherence expertise with complementary knowledge
MAECON currently has 12 members, who work at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and/or the University of Groningen (UG). These members are independent senior researchers and represent a wide range of sub-specialisms related to medication adherence.

‘Drugs don’t work in people who don’t take them’ (a quote attributed to C. Everett Coop, former US Surgeon General). The ageing society is a key contributor to a steady increase in the number of patients with a chronic disease and multimorbidity. This requires a multifaceted response, which often involves lifetime medication use.

Poor adherence
Most medications have proven their efficacy in large randomised clinical trials. However, in practice, the effectiveness of medications often turns out to be much lower. This is largely due to poor medication adherence. Depending on the disease and definitions used, medication non-adherence is found in up to 50% of patients who are using chronic medication. It is important to note that, in the European Union alone, medication non-adherence is associated with an estimated 200,000 deaths and €125 billion of potentially preventable direct costs, such as hospital admissions and drug waste, as well as potentially preventable indirect costs, such as productivity loss at work.

Implementation platform
In the last decades, there has been little improvement in medication adherence. Unfortunately, this applies to the whole range of chronic diseases. The fragmentation of medication adherence research, poor awareness among stakeholders, lack of effective and personalized strategies, and poor implementation and incentives in daily clinical practice are some of the key factors contributing to the poor results in terms of progress and change. To achieve real progress in medication adherence, make better use of existing medications, and ultimately foster healthy ageing of societies, the time has come to unite all forces into one adherence expertise centre that serves as a knowledge hub as well as an implementation platform.

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How our research benefits to society

In healthcare, MAECON aims to:

  • Raise awareness of and promote adherence among professionals and patients;
  • Educate and provide training to professionals in medication adherence measurements and interventions.
  • We can offer assistance with measuring and managing medication adherence in daily clinical care. Support can be offered in terms of workshops and training sessions for healthcare professionals of all disciplines, including physicians, nurses, and pharmacists.


  • Our bioanalysis lab, led by Prof. Daan J. Touw, is able to determine drug concentrations in various matrices, including blood (i.e. regular blood and dried blood spot testing), urine, saliva, and hair from the scalp.

  • Tools include eHealth devices for numerous administration routes to monitor and support adherence, ranging from smart tablet/capsule/pill bottles to injection tracking devices, digital inhalers, and smart spacers for inhaled medication.

  • Databases include primary care and pharmacy records from many people living in the northern Netherlands. These can be used to monitor drug use.

  • Networks that we collaborate with include the northern Netherlands hospitals, general practices, and community pharmacies. They can facilitate patient recruitment for clinical trials that focus on novel adherence monitoring strategies.


Small profile photo of J.F.M. van Boven
Job van Boven Associate Professor

University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Department of Clinical Pharmacy & Pharmacology - MAECON
PO Box 30.001
9700 RB Groningen
The Netherlands

Visiting address
University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Department of Clinical Pharmacy & Pharmacology - MAECON
Hanzeplein 1
9713 GZ Groningen

See also: Maecon