Convenience – Good or Bad

Anyone with prescriptions knows there are different pharmacy types – independent, online, mail order, grocery, and chains (e.g., Walgreens).  Each have different attributes.  The biggest question is always why one choses one over the other, whether there is a difference, and who is the most probable to chose one over the other.  In February 2005, Drug Store News put out what is probably one of the best studies on this.  It shows segmentation, reasons people chose one pharmacy over another, and other good data.  The graphical version is available as a PDF for $5 here.  Otherwise, you can read the plain text version.  One of the central points is that as consumers want convenience and chains implement drive-throughs then they are playing into the mail order trend.  They are disintermediating the pharmacist-patient relationship.

“In general, one of the things we’re seeing is that consumers are spending less time overall interacting inside the store,” Wilson said. “Not only is mail pulling them away, but [as] these drive-throughs increase dramatically … customer interaction seems to be shifting away from a more personalized approach to more time-saving and convenience methods.”

Abroad (from what I understand), the pharmacist and pharmacy play a more central care role with regards to the patient.  I think pharmacists that have time try to do that today, but the model is not set up for that.  This might be a model that CVS pursues with the blending of Caremark and MinuteClinic.  The study said that only 11% of people know the first name of their pharmacists.  Do you?  Mine are Renee and Mark.  I know them both well.

Here is one of the charts you will find that shows some variance across pharmacy type.  It didn’t show any statistical values so I don’t know if the differences are meaningful.

WilsonRx Pharmacy Segmentation

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