In previous issues Chain Drug Review has presented some of the major findings from the Pharmacy Satisfaction Pulse Survey by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. The September 24 issue highlighted the pharmacy industry’s strengths and best practices. Future issues will explore topics including loyalty programs and medication adherence. This issue, however, examines opportunities for improvement, a topic that should be of vital importance to all chain pharmacy executives and managers.


Boehringer Ingelheim, Pharmacy Satisfaction Pulse Survey, pharmacy industry, pharmacy customers, chain pharmacy, prescription pricing, pharmacy customer satisfaction, prescription wait time, chain drug stores, supermarket pharmacies, independent pharmacies, mass merchant pharmacies, clinic, independent drug store




































































































































































































































INSIDE THIS ISSUE
News
Opinion
Other Services
Reprints / E-Prints
Submit News
White Papers

Inside This Issue - News

Rx satisfaction: Where pharmacies have room to improve

October 22nd, 2012

NEW YORK – In previous issues Chain Drug Review has presented some of the major findings from the Pharmacy Satisfaction Pulse Survey by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. The September 24 issue highlighted the pharmacy industry’s strengths and best practices. Future issues will explore topics including loyalty programs and medication adherence. This issue, however, examines opportunities for improvement, a topic that should be of vital importance to all chain pharmacy executives and managers.

The findings are based on 20-minute online interviews that were conducted from October to November 2011 and which involved a nationally representative sample of 34,424 respondents. Importantly, participants were limited to adult pharmacy customers who had filled six or more prescriptions (including refills) during the previous 12 months. The size and composition of the sample give the findings real statistical significance.

Wait Time For Filling Prescriptions

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Topping customers’ lists of areas needing improvement is prescription pricing. As the full industry report of the Pharmacy Satisfaction Pulse survey (available, along with other studies, for free download at Pulse.PharmacySatisfaction.com) points out, this is a very important area to customers, and satisfaction decreased across all pharmacy types as the economy worsened from 2010 to 2011, although it has stabilized in the latest findings.

The bad news for chain drug stores is that dissatisfaction with the channel is higher than for any other type of pharmacy except mail order/online. No fewer than 13% of chain drug customers declared themselves very or somewhat dissatisfied with their prescription pricing, a figure exceeded only by mail order/online pharmacies at 19%.

By contrast, independent drug store customers reported only 8% dissatisfied, while 81% described themselves as somewhat or very satisfied. In fact, the percentage of those who were very satisfied with independent pharmacies’ pricing rose more than five percentage points year-over-year to hit 55%.

Among chain drug customers, meanwhile, only 38% described themselves as very satisfied (exceeding only the 37% achieved by mail order/online), while 33% were somewhat satisfied.

Out-Of-Stock Rxs: Patients Who Had To Return Later Or Go To Another Pharmacy

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Of course, service and convenience are also important variables in determining pharmacy customer satisfaction, and in those areas chain drug stores’ scores are mixed. Chain drug customers had the second-highest wait time for their prescriptions at 60 minutes, trailing only clinic customers and tied with customers of mass merchant pharmacies.

By comparison, independent drug store customers had an average wait of just 15 minutes, and nearly one-third reported an average wait of 10 minutes or less. It would be highly meaningful if these comparative figures could be supplemented with data on prescription dispensing rates between chain drug stores and independents as well as supermarket pharmacies, whose customers reported an average 45 minute wait.

Overall, about one-third of pharmacy customers had to return to their pharmacy to get a prescription filled, and only clinics performed significantly better than that, as the chart below shows. However, more chain drug customers, at 15%, reported going to a different pharmacy because their prescription was not in stock, and nearly half (47%) went to a competitor.

While the latter figure is certainly cause for alarm, since it represents potentially lost business, chain drug rates much better here than either supermarket pharmacies (65%) or mass merchant pharmacies (76%). The extensive market coverage and closer proximity of outlets belonging to the same chain make it easier for pharmacy customers to go to another location and have their prescription filled, which at least minimizes the inconvenience of having to do so.

The frequency with which drug chains offer extended hours and even 24-hour pharmacies is another important asset when it comes to convenience and service. While 23% of all respondents reported having to return or go to a different pharmacy because the pharmacy was closed when they wanted to pick up or drop off a prescription, both chains and independents did better than the average, with 21% scores.

While survey participants indicated that providing printed health information is another opportunity for improvement, it is significantly less important than such factors as pricing or prescription wait time. Although more customers of independent drug stores (79%), clinics (78%) and supermarket pharmacies (77%) were satisfied on this score, chain drug customers were generally content (74%) as well. Moreover, the number of those who were very satisfied (52%) increased more than five percentage points year over year.

Advertisement