Cultural differences have been documented to affect a patient’s adherence to, and the effectiveness of, drug therapy. For example, physicians' trust and respect for patients and their health beliefs and practices, as well as communications issues, have been found to influence adherence to medication regimens. Patients’ beliefs about the nature of disease, acceptance of side effects, and preferences regarding herbal or traditional therapies may be influenced by a range of sociocultural influences, including gender, socioeconomic class, education, immigrant status, and religion, all of which must be taken into account when determining appropriate treatments. Additionally, communications barriers may lead to incorrect interpretations of diagnoses and instructions regarding treatment.
In a series of studies conducted in the early 2000s, the National Pharmaceutical Council examined these issues and how individualized medicine and pharmaceutical innovation can address the diverse needs of a cross cultural patient population.