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03/04/2021

Survey: More than 8 in 10 adults prefer their local pharmacist over mail order

Some 85% of adults prefer getting prescription drugs from a local pharmacist instead of a mail-order service, with 36% saying their pharmacist knows them better, according to a survey released by the National Community Pharmacists Association.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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A large majority of American adults prefer to get their prescription drugs from a local pharmacist instead of a mail order service, mainly because of the personal relationship. This finding comes from a new national survey of 1,390 adults, conducted Feb. 26 and 27 by Public Policy Polling that was shared Thursday by the National Community Pharmacists Association.

“Most Americans clearly are not willing to substitute personal care for the perception of convenience,” said Doug Hoey, NCPA CEO. “When they need medicine, they want to talk to a healthcare provider who knows them.”

According to the survey, 85% prefer getting prescription drugs from a local pharmacist instead of a mail-order service. When asked why, 36% say their pharmacist knows them better than a mail-order company. Thirty-two percent say their pharmacist answers questions and provides counsel on how to use the drugs. Another 15% worry their drugs will get lost in the mail, exposed to the elements, or stolen.

“Americans have been ordering many more things in the mail because of the pandemic, but they are still reluctant to get their prescriptions that way. COVID-19 has changed many consumer behaviors, but it doesn’t seem to have changed the basic relationship between patients and local pharmacists,” said Hoey. “There’s a trust factor that mail-order companies can’t replicate.”

In fact, many Americans rely on pharmacists for more than prescription drugs. According to the survey, nearly half say they’ve consulted their local pharmacist for minor ailments, like bee stings, cold sores, or diaper rash.

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

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