NCPA: Most Adults Prefer Local Pharmacist Over Mail Order

March 5, 2021
Jennifer Barrett

Results of a new national survey showed that more than 8 in 10 adults prefer their local pharmacists over mail order services.

Most Americans prefer their local pharmacists over prescription drug mail order services, according to results of a new national survey released by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).1

The survey, which was conducted by Public Policy Polling on February 26-27, polled 1390 adults on where they prefer to get their prescription medications from.

According the results, 85% of adults who responded prefer getting their prescriptions from a local pharmacist instead of a mail order service. Thirty-six percent of respondents said that their pharmacist knows them better than a mail order company, 32% said their pharmacists answers their questions and provides counseling, and another 15% reported concerns that their prescriptions may get lost in the mail, exposed to the elements, or stolen.

Mail order pharmacies have been around for a while, but the COVID-19 pandemic showcased an increased demand for convenience in the health care space. Online retail giant Amazon made waves in recent months with the launch of its online pharmacy and drug delivery service. Customers who are members of the loyalty club Prime will receive 2-day shipping on their medications, as well as discounts on generic and prescription drugs. However, NCPA’s findings indicate that most patients still value the personal interactions with their pharmacist over the ability to get medications shipped directly to their door. 

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

Patients also rely on their pharmacists for more than filling prescriptions. According to the survey, approximately half of respondents said they’ve consulted their pharmacist for minor ailments, such as bee stings, cold sores, or diaper rash.

“That goes back to the trust factor,” Hoey said. “Most Americans visit their pharmacist more frequently than they visit their primary care physician. For any 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.”

Reference

1. National Consumer Survey: More than 8 in 10 Adults Prefer their Local Pharmacist over Mail Order. News release. NCPA; March 4, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://ncpa.org/newsroom/news-releases/2021/03/04/national-consumer-survey-more-8-10-adults-prefer-their-local.