Poll: Patients Affirm Satisfaction with Independent Pharmacies

Published Online: Thursday, September 27, 2012
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Alexandria, Va. - Sept. 27, 2012 National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) President and Oklahoma City, OK pharmacy owner Lonny Wilson, DPh, issued the following statement today in response to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Pharmacy Study that found high patient satisfaction with locally owned and independently operated pharmacies, including Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Health Mart and The Medicine Shoppe pharmacies:

"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. Health plan sponsors, government policymakers and health insurance plans should all take note of these findings. As we demonstrated recently in Oklahoma, community pharmacists can work with plan sponsors to reduce health care costs while preserving pharmacy choice, which is popular with patients.

"NCPA congratulates the independently owned and operated pharmacies across the country for, once again, achieving high customer satisfaction rates. According to J.D. Power and Associates' research, patients are considerably more satisfied with independent community pharmacies than they are with the most common publicly traded, national retail pharmacy chains on key factors like the prescription filling process, pharmacy personnel and cost competitiveness. This survey's findings are consistent with those patient polls conducted separately by Consumer Reports and others. Namely, patients have found independent community pharmacists to be an unsurpassed value for patients in terms of their accessibility, customer service, knowledge and competitive pricing.

"This survey is also noteworthy for the growing dissatisfaction patients expressed with respect to mail order pharmacies, typically owned by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). For the second consecutive year, more patients disapproved of the job performance of mail order pharmacies than did the year before. Earlier this month, NCPA released an online video, entitled 'Mail Order Madness,' giving voice to many of the concerns with mail order that patients express to community pharmacists on a regular basis, that are in line with this survey.

"Two additional facts regarding mail order stand out in this survey. First, captive patients who are required to use mail order pharmacies are the least satisfied. Perhaps that's not surprising because in any monopoly situation, the quality of service declines absent any competition. Second, patient dissatisfaction with mail order is growing fastest in the category of 'cost competitiveness,' despite misleading cost-savings claims of PBM-owned mail order pharmacies.

"These findings also come amid a growing problem with medication adherence. As much as $290 billion in health care costs annually are estimated to result from patients not sticking to their medication regimen as prescribed by their doctor.

"These twin forces of medication non-adherence and increasing dissatisfaction with mail order pharmacies should prompt health plan sponsors to support plan designs that allow patients access to the pharmacy of their choice, where pharmacists can help promote proper medication use and maximize the cost-savings from generic drugs."

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