HEALTH

Survey shows that women frequent pharmacy based on convenience, location

BY Michael Johnsen

WESTERVILLE, Ohio As many as 68% of women choose a pharmacy based on convenience/location, compared with only 48% of men, according to the Winter 2009 Ad-ology Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey released Wednesday.

Women prefer to fill prescriptions at a grocery store pharmacy, with more than twice as many females than males saying loyalty programs and rewards are “very important.”

Overall, 53% of pharmacy customers still prefer to fill their prescriptions at a drug store, versus at a grocery store or online.

“Grocery stores have been successful getting women into their pharmacies,” stated Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research. “There’s opportunity for other pharmacies to attract this demographic by highlighting convenience and their own rewards programs – especially online.”

Although most customers prefer to refill prescriptions offline, many are influenced by online content. Almost 1-in-5 reported that a store/pharmacy Web site provided “significant” or “some” influence on their choice of which pharmacy to use, with slightly more males than females influenced by store/pharmacy Web sites. Social media also was an influence: positive comments/reviews from other shoppers influenced 20% of customers.

Other key findings from the survey:

  • In the last year, nearly half of pharmacy customers 65 years old and older initiated a conversation with their doctor about a specific brand of medication
  • Out-of-pocket costs, knowledgeable pharmacists, and availability of generic medications are the most significant factors when selecting a pharmacy
  • Hispanics more than other ethnic groups prefer filling prescriptions at drug stores (72.7%)
  • Slightly more males than females were influenced by store/pharmacy web sites
  • Of traditional media types, newspapers (21.8%) and television (20.1%) had the most influence on pharmacy choice

The Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey is conducted quarterly by Ad-ology Research to study on- and off-line media influence on buying decisions.

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New supplement designed for weight-loss surgery patients

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS Undergoing weight-loss surgery means making sacrifices, particularly in the area of food, but this can sometimes place patients at risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A company in St. Louis, however, has created a prescription nutritional supplement for patients who have undergone the surgery.

ProBarimin QT, made by Fleming Pharmaceuticals, is a fruit-flavored supplement that dissolves in the mouth.

“Although there are over-the-counter supplements for WLS patients, ProBarimin QT is specially formulated to meet the unique nutritional and intake requirements of WLS patients,” Fleming president Phill Dritsas said.

The supplement includes vitamins such as B12, C and D and minerals such as iron, selenium and zinc.

The patent for the supplement is pending.

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Study: Probiotic strain effective in alleviating IBS

BY Michael Johnsen

CLEVELAND A new study published in the March issue of Postgraduate Medicine found that a strain of probiotic bacteria, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, PTA-6086 was effective in relieving abdominal pain and bloating in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome.

As many as 25% of the U.S. population suffer from IBS, a condition characterized by a number of digestive problems. The new study adds to the growing body of evidence that certain probiotics can help with IBS and provides hope for IBS sufferers of a new option.

“IBS is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder and represents a tremendous public health problem,” stated Nicholas Talley, author of a scientific review article about the impact functional gastrointestinal disorders have on society.

The study found that subjects taking the Bacillus coagulans probiotic strain experienced statistically significant reductions in abdominal pain and bloating versus baseline at each of the weekly measurements taken throughout the 8-week study. Subjects taking placebo experienced statistically significant reductions in just two of the weekly abdominal pain measurements and saw no statistically significant effect in bloating.

“This study helps confirm that Bacillus coagulans is effective in IBS,” stated Larysa Hun, author of the 44-subject study. “A combination of Bacillus coagulans, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Streptococcus thermophilus was previously shown in a clinical trial to significantly improve IBS symptoms, but it was not possible to determine what effect, if any, each strain had by itself.”

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