Drug Costs Cause Pharmacy Customer Satisfaction to Drop

Supermarket chain pharmacies have the highest levels of customer satisfaction in JD Power survey, with Walgreens ranking highest among specialty pharmacies.

Each year, pharmacists are rated among the most highly-trusted health care providers. The pharmacy industry also scores highly in overall customer satisfaction, according to JD Power.

However, the JD Power 2017 US Pharmacy Study indicated a decline in customer satisfaction with traditional and mail order pharmacies, according to a press release. This decline was observed to be related to high drug costs.

“Pharmacies have historically earned very high marks for customer satisfaction, so any significant year-over-year decline is cause for closer investigation,” said Rick Johnson, director of the Healthcare Practice at JD Power. “Consumer concerns about rising drug prices have likely affected perceptions of the cost for their retail prescriptions. The decrease in satisfaction with cost is the primary drag on overall customer satisfaction, creating a serious challenge for retailers.”

The survey measures customer satisfaction with brick-and-mortar, mail order, and specialty pharmacies in the United States. Included in the 2017 study were responses from 17,326 pharmacy customers who filled a prescription 3 months prior to May 2017.

The reduction in satisfaction with brick-and-mortar pharmacies was observed to be the result of a year-over-year decrease in satisfaction with cost. In 2017, customer satisfaction dropped 27 index points and the in-store experience dropped 14 points, according to JD Power.

Satisfaction with mail order pharmacies also dropped 49 points due to cost and declined 15 points related to the prescription ordering process.

For the first time, the 2017 study also explored adherence levels. The authors found that 79% of brick-and-mortar customers were adherent to their drugs, while 84% of mail-order and 74% of specialty pharmacy customers adhered to their treatments, according to the study.

Patients who discussed their prescription with a pharmacist at the brick-and-mortar location were observed to have the highest treatment adherence.

Notably, supermarket chain pharmacies have the highest level of customer satisfaction, scoring 859 out of 1000 points, while mass merchandisers had the lowest level at 839, according to the study.

JD Power found that Good Neighbor Pharmacy ranks highest among brick-and-mortar chain drug stores, while Health Mart ranks second.

Sam’s Club has the highest overall satisfaction among brick-and-mortar mass merchandisers with a score of 874, while Fred’s ranks second at 873.

The study also showed that Brookshire Grocery Co ranks highest overall among brick-and-mortar supermarkets. Kaiser Permanente Pharmacy ranks highest overall in mail order at 884 points.

Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy was found to rank the highest among specialty pharmacies with a score of 853, closely followed by BriovaRx at 851 index points. CVS Specialty/CVS Caremark ranked third in this category, according to the study.