ABC taxonomy

The ABC taxonomy provides a definitive description of medication adherence to facilitate measurement and analysis. It was developed as part of the FP7-funded project “Ascertaining Barriers for Compliance: policies for safe, effective and cost-effective use of medicines in Europe”, and in collaboration with ESPACOMP.


Since the original publication in the English language, ESPACOMP has coordinated validated translations to other languages, following agreed methods to ensure consistency. To date, the ABC taxonomy is also available in the following languages: Čeština (Czech), Deutsch (German), Español (Spanish), Française (French), Italiano (Italian) and Português (Portuguese).

Please contact Professor Dyfrig Hughes at ESPACOMP if you are interested to develop further translations.

ABC taxonomy team
Members of the ABC Consortium, meeting in Leuven, 2010


Bernardo C, Tosin MHS, Almada M, Sampaio R, Oliveira BGRB, Costa E, Vrijens B, Alves da Costa F. Translation and cross-cultural adaptation of the ABC taxonomy for medication adherence into Portuguese – Updating patients into people. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2023 Apr;19(4):653-659. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sapharm.2022.12.010

Garcia-Cardenas V, Hughes D, Aguilar-Palacio I, Benrimoj SI, Rabanaque MJ, Martinez-Martinez F, Malo S. Spanish translation of the ABC taxonomy for medication adherence. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2023 Sep;19(9):1292-1297. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sapharm.2023.05.012

Haag M, Lehmann A, Hersberger KE, Schneider MP, Gauchet A, Vrijens B, Arnet I, Allenet B. The ABC taxonomy for medication adherence translated into French and German. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2020 Apr;86(4):734-744. https://doi.org/10.1111/bcp.14172

Mala-Ladova K, Voříšková E, Kostalova B, Malý J. Medication adherence terminology – the first consensual translation using the Delphi method. Vnitřní lékařství. 2022; 68. E22-E28. http://dx.doi.org/10.36290/vnl.2022.028 

Mucherino S, Maffoni M, Cena C, Armando LG, Guastavigna M, Orlando V, Orofino G, Traina S, Giardini A, Menditto E, The Collaborative Working Group. Italian Translation and Validation of the Original ABC Taxonomy for Medication Adherence. Healthcare (Basel). 2023 Mar 13;11(6):846. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11060846

Vrijens B, De Geest S, Hughes DA, Przemyslaw K, Demonceau J, Ruppar T, Dobbels F, Fargher E, Morrison V, Lewek P, Matyjaszczyk M, Mshelia C, Clyne W, Aronson JK, Urquhart J; ABC Project Team. A new taxonomy for describing and defining adherence to medications. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2012 May;73(5):691-705. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04167.x