J.D. Power and Associates releases pharmacy study

September 17, 2009

While pharmacy customers with prescription drug coverage are more satisfied with their pharmacy experience, customers with public-private plans are just as satisfied as those with wholly private insurance, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 National Pharmacy Study released today.

While pharmacy customers with prescription drug coverage are more satisfied with their pharmacy experience, customers with public-private plans are just as satisfied as those with wholly private insurance, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 National Pharmacy Study released today.

The study found that pharmacy satisfaction among customers with prescription drug coverage averages 818 on a 1,000-point scale, while satisfaction among those without coverage is only 792. Among mail-order customers 65 years of age or older with private prescription drug coverage, satisfaction with their pharmacy experience averages 844. In comparison, pharmacy satisfaction among mail-order customers in the same age group who have Medicare Part D coverage averages about the same.

“Healthcare reform is one of the most visible issues currently being addressed by the nation and its leaders,” said Jim Dougherty, executive director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “The study’s mail-order pharmacy segment provides a valuable comparison opportunity for examining customer satisfaction with private and public-private insurance plans."

When controlled for education, tenure with the pharmacy, total out-of-pocket costs, type of medication, and mail-order pharmacy brand, the study finds that customers are equally satisfied with their pharmacy experience whether they are in a publicly funded program, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs pharmacy plan; a public-private program, such as Medicare Part D; or a private insurance option.

The study also finds that customers with higher satisfaction scores are financially beneficial to their pharmacies through increased rates of loyalty and advocacy and higher revenue per visit. Highly satisfied customers (satisfaction scores of 901 or higher) are three times more likely to say they “definitely will” return to their pharmacy and are at least seven times more likely to say they “definitely will” recommend their pharmacy, compared with customers with low satisfaction (scores of 550 or lower).

“Pharmacies have an opportunity to grow their business and better position themselves for the future by improving satisfaction levels among their customers,” said Dougherty. “For example, a highly satisfied brick-and-mortar customer generates $30 more in pharmacy revenue per visit than a customer with low satisfaction, on average. For a pharmacy with 1,000 customers each month, this translates into an additional $360,000 in revenue annually.”

The study, now in its third year, measures customer satisfaction with pharmacies in two segments: brick-and-mortar and mail-order. The study includes chain drugstores, supermarkets, and mass merchandisers, and examines seven key factors that contribute to customer satisfaction with brick-and-mortar pharmacies: nonpharmacist staff, store convenience, medication availability and information, store layout and design, cost competitiveness, remote-ordering convenience, and pharmacist. Five factors are measured in the mail-order segment: ordering convenience, delivery convenience, medication availability and information, cost competitiveness, and customer service.

Among chain drugstore pharmacies, Health Mart ranks highest with a score of 864. The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy follows with a score of 857. Target ranks highest among mass merchandisers for a third consecutive year with a score of 831. Costco (818) and Sam’s Club (813) follow Target in the rankings. In the supermarket segment, Wegmans ranks highest with a score of 865. Winn-Dixie follows in the rankings with 860, while Publix ranks third with 855. Kaiser Permanente Pharmacy ranks highest among mail-order pharmacies with a score of 877. Prescription Solutions (876) and Humana RightSourceRx (861) follow in the mail-order segment rankings.

The Department of Veterans Affairs pharmacy service, which is open only to veterans of the U.S. military and their families, and therefore not included in the rankings, also achieves high levels of customer satisfaction.

The 2009 National Pharmacy Study is based on responses from 12,215 customers who filled a new prescription or refilled a prescription during the three months prior to the survey period.

The Web-based study was fielded May through June 2009. For more information, visit www.jdpower.com.