Pharmacists to Promote Service, Price to Increase Traffic

Prescription drug spending accounts for nearly 10% of total health care costs in this country. Much of this spending is not out-​of-​pocket, but the costs are real and just one concern when consumers search for a pharmacist. As a result, drugstores that market their pharmacy benefits can increase their sales of prescription drugs.

A new study from AccentHealth focused on the opinions of patients who visited doctor’s offices. For the most part, these consumers use pharmacies at a higher than average rate. While 66% of these patients use only 1 pharmacy, 34% use multiple pharmacies. The reasons given for using more than one pharmacy include:

  • Location/​convenience 63%
  • Price 46%
  • Availability of medication 35%
  • Urgent need 30%

Nearly all, 92%, of these patients report having a preferred pharmacy. In addition, patients also say that pharmacists are most accessible though the local drug store, chain drug store and grocery-​based drug counter. Overall, 28% of patients interact with their pharmacist. Interactions are highest at local drug stores (52%) and clinic/​doctor-​based pharmacies (43%). Natalie Hill, AccentHealth, points out that while consumers value the role of pharmacist as advisor, few are actually making use of this benefit.

Patient clearly appreciate the advice pharmacists offer, but for many, cost is key when they choose where to fill their prescriptions. Over half of surveyed consumers, 58%, would switch pharmacies if they could save less than $10. Only 15% would not switch their pharmacist as a result of cost.

There is no denying the importance of out-​of-​pocket costs as it relates to pharmacy selection and a solid ad campaign that explains how prescriptions are billed and which insurance plans are covered could help increase business. After that, pharmacies can try to position themselves to become a favorite stopping place by promising convenience and expert and friendly advice given by a pharmacist.

You can learn more about consumers who notice drugstore advertising by checking out the Pharma Advertising Responders report available from the Audience Interests & Intent section on Ad-ology.
[Sources: National Health Expenditures. CMS​.gov. Web. 6 Sept. 2012; Johnsen, Michael. Pharmacists’ value recognized, underutilized. Drugstorenews​.com. 27 Aug. 2012. Web. 6 Sept. 2012] 

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.