HEALTH

J.D. Power and Associates’ pharmacy study addresses cost, customer service

BY Allison Cerra

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. J.D. Power and Associates’ release of its annual national pharmacy study on Wednesday underscored customers’ sensitivity to cost issues, despite out-of-pocket pharmacy costs virtually remaining unchanged from last year, the global marketing information services company said.

The study, which examined customer satsifaction rates in chain drug stores, mass merchandisers, supermarkets and mail-order pharmacies, found that cost competitiveness accounted for 24% of overall satisfaction among brick-and-mortar customers (versus 10% in 2009) and for 41% among mail-order customers (versus 19% in 2009).

J.D. Power and Associates did point out, however, that customer service did outweigh saving money among respondents.

Based on national average spending by pharmacy customers, a highly satisfied customer may generate $227 in additional prescription revenue each year, J.D. Power and Associates noted.

 

"Consumers are spending more on healthcare expenses in general due to various employer-implemented changes in insurance coverage. High-performing pharmacies aren’t necessarily those with the lowest prices. Rather, pharmacies that are focused on service garner the highest levels of satisfaction. Customer service still trumps price, even in an environment where cost has become increasingly important," said Jim Dougherty, director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

 

The highest-ranked businesses included Good Neighbor Pharmacy (869-out-of-1,000 points) for the chain drug sector, Target pharmacies (848-out-of-1,000 points) for mass, Publix pharmacies (862-out-of-1,000 points) for supermarkets and Kaiser Permanente mail-order pharmacies (854-out-of-1,000 points).

The 2010 U.S. national pharmacy study was based on responses from more than 12,300 customers who filled a new prescription or refilled a prescription during the three months prior to the survey period. The study was fielded between May and June.

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Report: San Francisco supervisors OK tobacco sales ban at pharmacies

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN FRANCISCO San Francisco’s board of supervisors voted for an expansion of the city’s anti-tobacco law, according to published reports.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that the supervisors gave preliminary approval to a law to expand a law passed in 2008 to ban tobacco sales at drug stores to include all retailers that operate pharmacies, including mass merchandisers and supermarkets.

The original law had attracted opposition from Walgreens and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores on the grounds that it discriminated against drug stores. Supporters of the law asserted that its purpose was to rectify what they saw as the contradictory nature of a healthcare institution, such as a pharmacy selling an unhealthful product.

Asimilar law was enacted in Boston around the same time as the San Francisco law, though the Boston law banned tobacco sales at all retailers that operate pharmacies.

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Study: Independent pharmacies earn high customer satisfaction scores

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Independent pharmacies have garnered the highest customer satisfaction scores among its competitors, according to results of a J.D. Power and Associates study.

The J.D. Power and Associates 2010 national pharmacy study found that Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Health Mart and the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy –– networks of independently owned, locally operated pharmacies –– rated at 869, 856 and 851, respectively, on a 1,000 point scale, while patients said they were dissatisfied with publicly traded pharmacy chains and some mail-order pharmacies.

The National Community Pharmacists Association praised the study results, stating that “independent community pharmacies rely on a business model of answering questions and offering advice to ensure medication adherence is maximized.”

“This survey should encourage all patients and health plan sponsors to give independent community pharmacies another look. We offer superlative customer service, and we’re competitive on price,” said Joseph Harmison, NCPA president and pharmacy owner. “It’s also a reminder that policies that deny patients access to independent pharmacies, such as by mandating the use of mail-order pharmacies, not only eliminate choice but also the vital face-to-face interaction with clinically trained pharmacists.”

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