Independent Community Pharmacies Earn High Customer Satisfaction Scores in Latest J.D. Power and Associates National Pharmacy Study


Alexandria, Va. - Sept. 22, 2010

The J.D. Power and Associates 2010 National Pharmacy Study found that independent community pharmacies consistently garnered among the highest customer satisfaction scores, surpassing national, publicly traded pharmacy chains and the most common, volume-driven mail order pharmacies.

"Pharmacy customer satisfaction is about the consultation that can make a world of difference in health outcomes and, of course, getting your prescription drugs on a timely basis," said Joseph H. Harmison, PD, NCPA president and pharmacy owner in Arlington, Texas. "Independent community pharmacies rely on a business model of answering questions and offering advice to ensure medication adherence is maximized."

"This survey should encourage all patients and health plan sponsors to give independent community pharmacies another look. We offer superlative customer service and we're competitive on price," Harmison added. "It's also a reminder that policies that deny patients access to independent pharmacies, such as by mandating the use mail order pharmacies, not only eliminate choice, but also the vital face-to-face interaction with clinically trained pharmacists."

Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Health Mart, and the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy—networks of independently owned, locally operated pharmacies—rated at 869, 856, and 851 respectively on a 1,000 point scale. On the other hand, J.D. Power and Associates found that patients were not as satisfied with publicly traded, national retail pharmacy chains CVS Caremark (789) and Walgreens (807) or the three largest mail order pharmacies run by pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts, Inc. (830), Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (804) and CVS Caremark (790).

In describing its methodology to Drug Topics, J.D. Power and Associates' Jim Dougherty, director of health care practice, described a difference as small as 8-14 points in the annual survey as statistically significant.

Other notes of interests in the J.D. Power and Associates survey include:

  • CVS Caremark received below-segment averages in customer satisfaction for both its retail and mail order pharmacies. Meanwhile, the company continues to aggressively promote its ironically-named Maintenance Choice program, in which many customers of independent community pharmacies are being steered to CVS Caremark's retail and mail order pharmacies against their will. Allegations of anti-competitive and anti-consumer activities have prompted investigations of the company by the Federal Trade Commission and 24 state Attorneys General.

  • Wal-Mart (769) scored the lowest among mass merchandisers and well below the mass merchant segment industry average (794), indicating that its multi year pharmacy campaigns have not generated much goodwill among consumers.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

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