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ESPACOMP is a non-profit association established to promote the science concerned with the quantitative assessment of what patients do with medicines they have been prescribed. Both the reasons for, and the clinical and economic consequences of, differences between caregivers' prescriptions and patients' execution of those prescriptions are principal topics of research with which the Society is concerned, along with facilitation of the translation of this research into information that is useful to patients, healthcare providers, healthcare policy makers, and pharmaceutical researchers.


Since 1996, a group of scientists from Belgium and the Netherlands organized the « Lowlands » symposium to share their research on patient compliance and persistence with prescribed therapy. This symposium has grown over the years reflecting the increased interest for adherence related issues across Europe. In order to reflect the international expansion of the symposium, in 2006, the organizing committee decided to rename the symposium as “European Symposium on Patient Adherence Compliance and Persistence” and to extend it to other European countries. In 2009, The European Society for Patient Adherence, Compliance, and Persistence was founded.

Annual Meeting

Today, the principal activity of ESPACOMP is to organize a yearly symposium. It has become the meeting place for an increasing number of international adherence researchers, pharmacoepidemiologists, statisticians and industry people interested in compliance and persistence. The next meeting will be held in Porto, PORTUGAL on November 21, 2019.

John Urquhart Memorial Lecture

An invited speaker is appointed every year to deliver the Memorial Lecture.

This year´s speaker is:

  • 2017 Professor Thomas Nevins, Division of Pediatric Nephrology, University of Minnesota, USA

Previous years´ Memorial Lecture speakers have been:

  • 2016 Dr. Bernard Vrijens, WestRock Healthcare; University of Liège, Department of Biostatistics, Belgium
  • 2015 Dr. Ira Wilson, MD, MSc, Department of Health Services, Policy & Practice, Brown University School of Public Health, USA
  • 2014 Prof. Sabina de Geest, PhD, RN: University of Basel, Switzerland & KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 2013 Prof. Dr. Robert Vander Stichele: Heymans Institute of Pharmacology, University of Ghent, Department of Pharmacology, Belgium
  • 2012 Prof. Terrence Blaschke, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California; Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, California
  • 2011 Prof. Petra Denig, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands
  • 2010 Prof. Michel Burnier, Service of Nephrology and Hypertension, CHUV, Switzerland
  • 2009 Prof. Lars Osterberg, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, California, USA

About John Urquhart (April 24, 1934 – March 19, 2016)

John Urquhart was born in 1934 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His 50-year carreer focused on improving medical treatment through innovative pharmaceutical development and improved large-scale monitoring of drug actions.

A graduate of Harvard Medical School (1959) he held fellowships in physiology and obstetrics and interned in surgery at Massachussetts General Hospital. He was an investigator at the National Heart Institute at NIH, and held professorships in physiology at the University of Pittsburgh, and in biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California.

In 1971 John joined ALZA Corporation, founded by Alejandro Zaffaroni to advance medical treatment by developing new technologies to deliver drugs so as to enhance their efficacy and reduce side effects. As Chief Scientist and President of ALZA Research, John collaborated with talented colleagues to devise innovative dosage forms such as transdermal patches and controlled release oral products that became models for industry-wide development of safer and more effective pharmaceuticals. These products were the first to be labeled for rate of drug release rather than by drug content.

His next focus was on the need to improve treatment through enhanced compliance with drug regimens and better post-marketing surveillance of prescription drugs. In 1984 he and colleagues set up a team at Maastricht University in the Netherlands to develop methods to obtain complete, reliable and objective data on the beneficial and harmful actions of drugs in large populations. This group evolved into Maastricht’s center for pharmacoepidemiologic research. John was appointed as the first professor of pharmacoepidemiology there. In 1985 he founded APREX Corporation to develop electronically monitored pharmaceutical packaging to measure patient compliance with dosing regimens. APREX was acquired by AARDEX Group and finally in 2012 by MWV Corporation. He remained associated with this entreprise in key reserach and executive positions.

John´s achievements are reflected in his authorship of over 100 published papers, 40 patents, and a co-authored book (Risk Watch : the Odds of Life). Other honors included : 1962 Upjohn award, The Endocrine Society (with F.E. Yates, A.L. Herbst, and D.W. Glenister) ; 14 th Bowditch Lecturer, American Physiological Society (1969) ; President, Biomedical Engineering Society (1976) ; Doctorate honoris causa, University of Utrecht ; John Urquhart Fellowship Program established by the Dutch Chapter of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology ; Distinguished Alumnus Award, Rice University ; Fellow, International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology ; Fellow, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh ; Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science ; Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom.

Jean-Michel Métry poster prizes

Every year, a prize is awarded to the best poster.

Best poster prizes:

  • 2016: Lucy Ashworth (Atlantis Healthcare, UK)
    Poster title : A personalised patient support programme for people with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS): impact on beliefs, treatment adherence and lifestyle
  • 2015 : Imran Sulaiman (Department of Respiratory Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), Dublin, Ireland)
    Poster title : Inhaler adherence following an exacerbation of COPD
  • 2014 : Monique van den Ven (Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands)
    Poster title : The role of automatic processes in medication adherence of adolescents with asthma
  • 2013 : Milene Fernandes (Institute of Preventive Medicine - Faculty of Medicine - University of Lisbon, Portugal)
    Poster title : Factors associated with patient non-adherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV-1 infected adults
  • 2012 : Eline Tommelein (Ghent University, Belgium)
    Poster title : Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ) could be helpful in predicting (non)adherent behavior in patients with COPD

About Jean-Michel Métry PhD (1955-2009)

Jean-Michel Métry was born in Sion, Switzerland in 1955, educated in local schools, and did his pre-doctoral education and research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, under the direction of the late Professor Max Anliker. Dr Métry's first job was at 3-M Corporation, in work on cochlear implants. In 1988, he joined California-based APREX Corporation as Director of APREX's European division, providing MEMS® monitors to European clinical researchers. When APREX was reorganized and sold to Apria Healthcare Corporation in the mid-1990's, Dr Métry and Dr John Urquhart, co-founder of APREX, formed AARDEX Ltd. in Sion, Switzerland, to provide electronic monitors of prescription drug use in ambulatory medical care to the European clinical research marketplace. In the late 1990's, AARDEX acquired the assets of APREX from Apria, and Dr Métry became CEO of AARDEX Ltd., located in Sion, Switzerland In 2002, Dr Métry and Prof. Urs Meyer, Professor of Pharmacology at University of Basel, published the book entitled «Drug Regimen Compliance: Issues in Clinical Trials and Patient Management» (John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK). Dr. Métry had a special interest in patient adherence during phase IV studies, as new, orally-administered drugs came into wide usage. The results of these studies played a leading role in bringing wide attention to objective data on ambulatory patients' often poor adherence to prescribed medicines in all modes of ambulatory care, irrespective of disease severity or prognosis, plus recognition that variable adherence is the leading source of variance in patients' responses to prescribed, orally-administered medicines. Dr Métry's untimely death in 2009 ended his successful career as a scientist, biomedical engineer, and entrepreneur. The J-M Métry Lectureship of ESPACOMP is dedicated to his memory and his many contributions to the developing field of adherence research.

Executive Committee 2017

  • Sabina de Geest
  • Juliet Foster
  • Dyfrig Hughes
  • Marie-Paule Schneider
  • Bernard Vrijens
  • Leah Zullig
  • Liset van Dijk
  • Alpana Mair

Past events

  1. ESPACOMP Locations
  2. Number of participants per year (n) (based on registrations)
  3. Affiliation of the participants (%) (based on registrations)
  4. Number of submitted abstracts (n)
  5. Country of origin of participants since 2006 ESPACOMP (n) - 38 different nations