At least one in four Medicare Part D enrollees aged 65 or older are not taking their blood pressure medicine or skipping doses, increasing their risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and death, according to a Vital Signs report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 70% of U.S. adults aged 65 or older have high blood pressure, and only about half have it under control. “While the Medicare prescription drug program has increased the affordability and accessibility of prescription drugs, more can be done to encourage Medicare beneficiaries to take their medications as directed,” said Sean Cavanaugh, CMS deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare. “Medicare will continue to work with prescription drug plans to educate enrollees about the importance of taking their blood pressure medications as prescribed so that they can lower their risk for heart disease and stroke.” Among other actions, CDC recommends health care providers prescribe generic blood pressure medications and simplify treatment, for example by prescribing 90-day refills and combination medicines and coordinating pill refills for the same date.