Survey Finds Majority of Adults Prefer Their Local Pharmacist to Mail Order Services


A national survey found 85% of 1390 adults prefer getting prescription drugs from a local pharmacist instead of a mail order service.

Many American adults prefer to get their prescription drugs from a local pharmacist instead of a mail order service, mainly because of the personal relationship, according to a new national survey released today by the National Community Pharmacists Association.

“Most Americans clearly are not willing to substitute personal care for the perception of convenience,” said pharmacist and NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, MBA, in a press release. “When they need medicine, they want to talk to a health care provider who knows them.”

According to the national survey conducted February 26 to February 27, 2021 by Public Policy Polling, 85% of 1390 adults prefer getting prescription drugs from a local pharmacist instead of a mail order service. Further, 36% said their pharmacists know them better than a mail order company, while 32% say their pharmacist answers questions and provides counsel on how to use the drugs. Fifteen percent of the respondents worry their drugs will get lost in the mail, exposed to the elements, or stolen.

“Americans have been ordering many more things in the mail because of the pandemic, but they are still reluctant to get their prescriptions that way. COVID-19 has changed many consumer behaviors, but it doesn’t seem to have changed the basic relationship between patients and local pharmacists,” Hoey said in a press release. “There’s a trust factor that mail order companies can’t replicate.”

According to the survey, half of the respondents said they have consulted their local pharmacist for minor ailments, such as cold sores or bee stings.

“That goes back to the trust factor,” Hoey added in his prepared statement. “Most Americans visit their pharmacist more frequently than they visit their primary care physician. For many Americans, the local pharmacist is the only accessible health care provider. And it’s now very common for pharmacists to provide a full range of health care services beyond filling prescriptions.”


National consumer survey: more than 8 in 10 adults prefer their local pharmacist over mail order [news release]. Alexandria, VA; March 4, 2021: NCPA. Accessed March 8, 2021.

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