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Good Neighbor tops in Rx customer satisfaction

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J.D. Power study notes some areas of pharmacy patient dissatisfaction

COSTA MESA, Calif. — AmerisourceBergen Corp.’s Good Neighbor Pharmacy was No. 1 in pharmacy customer satisfaction among drug chains in the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Pharmacy Study.

However, both brick-and-mortar and mail-order pharmacies saw notable declines in some areas of patient satisfaction, according to J.D. Power’s annual survey, which polled 17,326 customers who filled or refilled a prescription in the previous three months.

The J.D Power U.S. Pharmacy Study assesses customer satisfaction with brick-and-mortar pharmacies — including chain drug stores, mass merchandisers and supermarkets — and mail order pharmacies. Using a 1,000-point scale, the survey measures satisfaction in such areas as the prescription ordering process, cost competitiveness, pharmacists, nonpharmacist staff, the prescription pick-up process (for brick-and-mortar), the store (for brick-and-mortar) and prescription delivery (for mail order).

In the chain drug segment, Good Neighbor Pharmacy finished first with a customer satisfaction index ranking of 889, followed by McKesson Corp.’s Health Mart (886) and Cardinal Health’s Medicine Shoppe (879). The three chains — all independent pharmacy networks run by drug distributors — have consistently ranked high in the J.D. Power study.

Of the national drug chains, Rite Aid led with a score of 851, followed by CVS Pharmacy (845) and Walgreens (844). The average  in the chain drug segment was 849.

Supermarket pharmacies, as in last year’s study, tallied the highest satisfaction score with a segment average of 859. Brookshire Grocery Co. achieved the highest mark among all brick-and-mortar pharmacies with a score of 894. Next in the supermarket category were H-E-B (893), Bi-Lo (891) and Wegmans (890). Also scoring above the segment average were Publix (882), Weis Markets (869), Winn-Dixie (867) and Kroger (866).

Pharmacy customer satisfaction_pharmacistThe mass merchant pharmacy segment had the lowest average satisfaction score at 839. Leading the category was Sam’s Club (874), with Fred’s Pharmacy just a point behind (873), followed by Costco (855), Meijer (851), CVS Pharmacy inside Target (849), Kmart (844), Shopko (832) and Walmart (826). J.D. Power noted that CVS Pharmacy at Target, whose score was up 20 points, posted the largest increase in satisfaction of any pharmacy from the 2016 study.

This year, the J.D. Power U.S. Pharmacy Study ranked customer satisfaction at specialty pharmacies for the first time. Coming in first was Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, with a satisfaction index of 853, followed by BriovaRx (851), CVS Specialty/CVS Caremark Specialty (840) and Accredo. As a segment, specialty pharmacies had an average score of 842.

Mail order pharmacies turned in the second-highest segment average score at 853. Kaiser Permanente Pharmacy led the mail service field with a patient satisfaction index of 884. Next were Humana Pharmacy (871), Walmart Pharmacy Mail Services (864), OptumRx (863), Walgreens Mail Service (858), Express Scripts (857) and CVS Caremark (840).

In customer satisfaction, pharmacy is perennially one of the top industries assessed by J.D. Power, but the 2017 study showed segment average scores down across the board from last year: -14 points for drug chains (863 score in the 2016 study), -15 points for supermarkets (874 in 2016), -12 points for mass merchants (851 in 2016) and -16 for mail 0rder (869 in 2016).

“Pharmacies have historically earned very high marks for customer satisfaction, so any significant year-over-year decline is cause for closer investigation,” according to Rick Johnson, director of the J.D. Power Healthcare Practice. “Consumer concerns about rising drug prices have likely affected perceptions of the cost for their retail prescriptions. The decrease in satisfaction with cost is the primary drag on overall customer satisfaction, creating a serious challenge for retailers.”

For brick-and-mortar pharmacies, customer satisfaction with cost dropped 27 index points to 789 in the 2017 study. Decreased satisfaction also was measured with in-store experience, where the index fell 14 points to 851, J.D. Power reported.

Declines in patient satisfaction with mail order pharmacies were fueled by decreased satisfaction with cost, down 49 points to an index of 787, and the prescription ordering process, down 15 points to 877.

New for this year’s study, J.D. Power gauged medication adherence levels across pharmacy channels. Of brick-and-mortar pharmacy customers surveyed, 79% said they always adhere to their medications — lower than 84% for mail order customers but higher than 74% for specialty pharmacy customers. J.D. Power noted that at the time of pickup in a brick-and-mortar pharmacy, customers who discuss a prescription with a pharmacist have the highest overall levels of adherence.


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