Supermarket pharmacies outrank chain drugstores in latest J.D. Powers consumer survey

September 21, 2011
Pharmaceutical Commerce, Pharmaceutical Commerce - September/October 2011,

The independent pharmacy networks of the Big Three outrank all chain drugstores in the brick-and-mortar category; mass merchandisers have the lowest average consumer satisfaction

Today’s consumers seem to have more on their minds (such as convenience or overnight delivery by mail order) than quality of pharmacists’ care when it comes to filling prescriptions, according to data collected by J.D. Power and Associates (Westlake Village, CA), the consumer-research company. In its annual, syndicated survey of consumer satisfaction, J.D. Power says that supermarket pharmacies have a higher satisfaction rating (826, on a 1,000-point scale) compared to chains (808), while mass merchandisers have an even lower rating (797). Mail order, measured by slightly different criteria, came in with a satisfaction rating of 806. But the single-highest vendor, in any category, is the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs, whose mail-order service ranked at 876 (the VA is restricted to military personnel and veterans).

Among chain drugstores, the top three positions were taken by the franchise-type networks run by AmerisourceBergen (Good Neighbor Pharmacy, rated at 851), McKesson (Health Mart, 851) and Cardinal (Medicine Shoppe, 831). [All three also serve independents not part of these networks.] The leading unaffiliated chain is Walgreens, rated at 810. Among supermarkets, the leader is Publix (867); among mass merchandisers, the leader is Target (846), and among mail-order the leader is Kaiser Permanente (848).

“This is a wonderful honor as our Good Neighbor Pharmacy owners and operators set themselves apart providing superior customer service to their patients,” said Mike Cantrell, president of Good Neighbor Pharmacy. Even so, the J.D. Power analysis cites other issues at play, noting that ““In an era when online retailers like Amazon and Zappos have set new standards for speed and convenience, customers are looking for more efficiency in their pharmacy transactions, as well,” according to Rick Millard, senior director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power.