Pharmacist knows best: OTC Recommendation Survey 2007

May 7, 2007

Drug Topics' exclusive OTC Recommendation Survey 2007 finds that R.Ph.s are providing more OTC recommendations and counseling than ever.

Key Points

This finding comes from an exclusive Drug Topics survey of a sampling of pharmacists in chain, independent, mass-merchandiser, and other settings.

Seeing patients

When it comes to counseling patients on OTCs, the largest number of respondents (32%) said they counsel 16 to 30 patients a week. Other responses ranged from up to 15 patients (21%) to more than 75 patients a week (9%).

Who gets the dialogue going? Customers aren't bashful about striking up a conversation with R.Ph.s about OTCs. Some 87% of pharmacists reported that customers typically initiate the tete-a-tete pharmacists start the discussion only 13% of the time.

Pharmacists who live in the Northwest appear to be the most outgoing, and those in the Southeast are the least outgoing when it comes to initiating discussions about OTCs. Sixteen percent of respondents from the Northwest get the dialogue going, while 12% of pharmacists in the Sunbelt make the first move.

One pharmacist noted that OTCs offer a "better bottom line than Rx, and patients need help."

Another R.Ph. commented, "If I see patients who appear to be confused in the OTC aisles, I go over and help them." Still another pharmacist explained, "Patients often stare quizzically at the array of products. An R.Ph. can be vital to proper drug choices."

On what grounds do pharmacists base their OTC recommendations? Using a scale of 1 to 8 with 1 representing the greatest influence and 8 representing the least influence, pharmacists ranked patient symptoms as having the greatest influence, followed by efficacy, ingredients, own experience, patient feedback, price, and profitability.

Tell me your faves

Which categories do patients most frequently seek pharmacists' advice about? Cough/cold/flu products topped the list at 62%, followed by allergy relievers (45%), analgesics/pain relievers (31%), and laxatives (5%).