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Report: Prescription Drug Costs Drive Down Pharmacy Customer Satisfaction

The drop occurred with both brick-and-mortar and mail-order pharmacies

A new study reports that the U.S. pharmacy industry, perennially one of the highest-scoring industries measured by J.D. Power, experienced notable declines in overall customer satisfaction this year. According to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Pharmacy Study, decreases in satisfaction with both brick-and-mortar and mail-order pharmacies are driven primarily by declines in satisfaction with cost.

“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 health care practice at J.D. 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.”

Some of the key findings of the study include:

  • Decline in customer satisfaction driven by cost: Decreases in satisfaction with brick-and-mortar pharmacies are driven by year-over-year declines in satisfaction with cost, which fell 27 index points to 789 (on a 1,000-point scale), and the in-store experience, a 14-point drop to 851. Decreases in satisfaction with mail-order pharmacies were driven by declines in satisfaction with cost (–49 to 787) and the prescription ordering process (–15 to 877).
  • Drug adherence highest with mail order, lowest at specialty pharmacy: The study measured drug adherence levels across the different pharmacy channels for the first time and found that 79% of customers who fill their prescriptions through a brick-and-mortar pharmacy say they always adhere to their medications. This compares with 84% among mail-order customers and 74% among specialty pharmacy customers. (The specialty segment is new to this year’s study.) Customers who discussed a prescription with a pharmacist in a brick-and-mortar pharmacy at the time of pick-up had the highest overall levels of adherence.
  • Supermarkets had highest overall satisfaction among pharmacy channels: Among all channels studied, supermarkets had the highest levels of overall customer satisfaction (859), followed by mail order (853); hospital or clinic (851); chain drug stores (849); specialty pharmacy (842); and mass merchandisers (839).

J.D. Powers’ U.S. Pharmacy Study, now in its ninth year, measures customer satisfaction with brick-and-mortar, mail-order, and specialty pharmacies. The 2017 study is based on responses from 17,326 pharmacy customers who filled a new prescription or refilled a prescription during the three months prior to the survey period of May–June 2017.

Source: J.D. Power; September 5, 2017.

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