Survey: Consumers should be proactive during cough-cold season

NEW YORK If nothing else, this survey reinforces the following two points: Retail pharmacists are oft-utilized recommenders of nonprescription remedies, and consumers are more and more turning to their pharmacists' OTC recommendations in an effort to save money in this tight economy.


And it’s not just the simple majority of pharmacists who are reinforcing these two points, it’s 8-out-of-every-10 pharmacists. It makes you wonder who those two pharmacists are — those pharmacists who aren’t realizing this trend toward greater utilization of OTCs. Probably the two pharmacists who concentrate on the nuts and bolts of their practice — filling and processing prescriptions — allowing for their very-capable pharmacy technicians to field those OTC recommendations.


What this means for the industry also comes in two. For retailers, it suggests that freeing up that pharmacist for more patient consultations may be more than just an ethereal concept, it could lead to more sales across the much-higher-margin OTC solutions.

For suppliers, these kinds of surveys make it all the more critical to communicate to pharmacists (and pharmacy technicians, especially if the two pharmacists who aren’t fielding more questions around OTCs are, in fact, passing that opportunity along to their techs). If you extrapolate those responses of 505 pharmacists across the entire retail pharmacist profession (which numbered at 154,702 pharmacists in 2006 per Bureau of Labor Statistics), that’s more than 131,00 retail pharmacists who field more questions around OTCs; and more than 125,000 retail pharmacists who are realizing greater OTC utilization and addressing five or more questions around OTC usage from their patients every day.

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