OCTOBER 01, 2006

A consumer survey revealed that pharmacies may be missing an opportunity to bond with patients. Although consumers reported that they trust their pharmacist as a source of information on medications, <1 of 4 actually talked with the pharmacist when last filling a prescription.

The survey, conducted by WilsonRx Reports, found that a majority of retail pharmacies are not promoting pharmacist interaction—a key factor in creating loyal customers. "Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to provide patient education and counseling, yet few take advantage of the opportunity," said pharmacist Jim Wilson, president of Wilson Health Information, which released the survey results.

The disadvantage, he said, "is that consumers may be missing the chance to develop relationships with their pharmacists and learn more about their medications and proper use. Customers are more satisfied and more loyal to their pharmacy, and more likely to take their medications as prescribed, if they speak to their pharmacist."

Of the 68,721 household consumers polled, 48% said they use >1 pharmacy to fill their prescriptions. Among the respondents who use mail order for their prescriptions, 70% reported they probably or definitely would switch to their local pharmacy if the amount and price of the product were the same.

The survey also indicated that pharmacy chains continue to be the most often used source of prescriptions, followed by mail, independent, food store, mass merchant, and clinic pharmacies.