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Survey: More and more pharmacy patients can’t get satisfaction through mail order

BY Michael Johnsen

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Satisfaction among customers using mail-order pharmacies to fill their prescriptions continued to decline, falling significantly below customer satisfaction with brick-and-mortar pharmacies, according to the J.D. Power and Associates "2012 U.S. Pharmacy Study" released Thursday.

"The erosion in customer satisfaction with mail-order pharmacies may foretell challenges to their business model, as prior to 2011, customer satisfaction was more equivalent to the brick-and-mortar experience," stated Rick Millard, senior director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

“Patients expressed a clear, unmistakable message in this survey: They want the ability to choose the pharmacy option that best meets their needs and those of their families," said Lonny Wilson, National Community Pharmacists Association president, regarding the J.D. Power report. "Health plan sponsors, government policy-makers and health insurance plans should all take note of these findings. … [C]ommunity pharmacists can work with plan sponsors to reduce healthcare costs while preserving pharmacy choice, which is popular with patients."

Overall satisfaction with mail-order pharmacies averaged 792 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2012, which is 22 points below the average overall satisfaction score for brick-and-mortar pharmacies this year, and 14 points lower than in 2011. This marks the second consecutive year of significant declines in customer satisfaction with mail-order pharmacies.  

In contrast, overall satisfaction with brick-and-mortar pharmacies has held steady year over year, with an average score of 814 in 2012, a slight decrease from 818 in 2011. "Customer service is becoming an increasingly important advantage of the brick-and-mortar pharmacy experience," Millard said. "The pharmacist is at the heart of that customer service. While the majority of customers don’t speak with the pharmacist, their presence may help draw customers to stores."

Health Mart ranked highest among independent drug store pharmacies, with a score of 848. Walgreens led retail pharmacy chains in customer satisfaction, while Sam’s Club ranked highest among mass merchandiser pharmacies. Publix was the highest-ranked supermarket pharmacy. 

The study found that 37% of customers who used in-store pharmacies are asked by the pharmacy staff if they want to speak with a pharmacist, a slight increase from 35% in 2011. Among the 23% of customers who do speak with a pharmacist in person, 61% also purchase other over-the-counter medications during their visit, compared with just 24% among those who do not speak with a pharmacist.  

The study also found only a slight increase in the proportion of customers who indicated they are required to use mail ordering for repeat or maintenance prescriptions, compared with 2011 (42% vs. 41%, respectively). However, overall satisfaction among customers who elect to use mail-order pharmacies is significantly higher than among those who are required to use them (810 vs. 768, respectively). In addition, satisfaction with the cost competitiveness of mail-order pharmacies among customers who are not required to use them is 773, compared with 714 among mandatory customers.

"Customers who are given a choice tend to perceive they are paying less than they would at a store pharmacy, or are deriving a better value for their purchase," Millard said. 

For the full release and retail rankings, click here

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Janssen launches new medical information tool

BY Allison Cerra

TITUSVILLE, N.J. — Janssen Scientific Affairs has debuted an new online scientific resource for U.S. healthcare professionals seeking instant access to current information about Janssen products marketed in the United States.

JanssenMD, a Web-based application is designed for use on desktops, tablets and smartphones, has search functionality that enables clinicians to easily find full prescribing information, clinical trial data and safety information about Janssen medications. It is among the first medical information websites to offer a self-service model that is accessible through mobile devices, the company said. Currently, scientific information is available for five pharmaceutical products: Edurant (rilpivirine), Remicade (infliximab), Stelara (ustekinumab), Xarelto (rivaroxaban) and Zytiga (abiraterone acetate). Additional Janssen medications soon will be added to the resource.

"JanssenMD was created to provide healthcare professionals with the information they need, when, where, and how they need it," said Norm Rosenthal, chief scientific officer at Janssen Scientific Affairs. "This unique digital platform enables us to respond to healthcare professionals’ questions with information that is current, accurate, and instantly accessible from any device they are using."


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Among Illinois Medicaid patients, more than one-fifth of kids’ prescriptions go unfilled, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — More than one-fifth of prescriptions given to children at clinics in Illinois were never filled, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at nearly 17,000 prescriptions for more than 4,800 children in the Illinois Medicaid program who visited two clinics over a 26-month period. The study found "significant associations" between prescription filling and the clinical site, visit type and electronic prescribing.

The study found that among prescriptions that were filled, 69% were filled within one day, and prescriptions for antibiotics from one of the clinic sites, from sick and follow-up visits and electronic prescriptions were "significantly" more likely to be filled.

The authors, led by Rachael Zweigoron of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, suggested that there were system-level factors that affected prescription filling, and that adherence programs should account for factors affecting primary adherence.


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