Not all “retail health” sites are created equal, US consumers seem to be saying in a new study from Wolters Kluwer Health, the company’s second Pharmacy Next. Consumer Care and Cost Trends survey.
Specifically, consumers have begun to differentiate health care provided at a retail pharmacy from care offered at a retail store such as Target or Walmart (both referred to as “health clinics in department stores” in the study’s press release). Meanwhile, 58% of Americans are likely to visit a local pharmacy as a “first step” when faced with a non-emergency medical situation, and 79% of people trust their local pharmacy to provide care more than department store employees.
Surprisingly, the trust deficit in health care retailers was significant, with 80% of consumers telling Wolters Kluwer that they would “probably never” go to a department store for health care.
4 out of 5 consumers would be willing to seek medication advice from a clinician other than a primary care physician, particularly a pharmacist, nurse or nurse practitioner, whom consumers would also trust to diagnose minor ailments and prescribe medication.
Within 5 years, 61% of US consumers predict most primary care will be provided at pharmacies, retail clinics or pharmacy clinics rather than doctors’ offices, the survey found.
A key driver inspiring the consumer pivot to retail healthcare, particularly the pharmacy as an on-ramp to healthcare services, is cost.
Wolters Kluwer found that more than 2 in 5 consumers chose not to fill a prescription. Two-thirds of consumers said drug prices have increased in the past two years, as shown in the survey’s second chart.
Thus, the vast majority of U.S. consumers turn to pharmacists and physicians for advice on lower-cost options for medications and other health concerns. Furthermore, three-quarters of people said that many widely used prescription drugs that have been proven safe should be available over-the-counter or “switched” to OTC.
“Americans are ready for a pharmacist as a prescriber,” Wolters Kluwer learned from researchers in December 2022. In that survey, three out of four US adults were open to receiving medications prescribed by a specially trained pharmacist instead of a doctor. . Younger patients were more likely to be open to a pharmacist as a prescription, but even Boomers and 58% of older Americans supported the concept.
Wolters Kluwer surveyed 1,017 US adults 18 and older for the latest study, with interviews conducted in March 2023.
Hot spots of Health Populi. Health care delivery is decentralizing, Walters Kluwer noted in a discussion of the context of the study, as care moves closer to where people live (or within the walls of their homes), work (in an office, when an employer has a lot of trusted health information). for), play (in safe outdoor environments and walkable cities) and learn (in schools and faith-based institutions).
“Pharmacies [are] moving towards [the] the heart of primary care,” concludes the Wolters Kluwer brief, noting that trust in pharma is growing as consumer spending on healthcare increases.
Thus, OTC drugs and generic drugs are highly valued and trusted by consumers, assuming their fiscal-medical role as patient as payer.
The pharmacist is a key influencer in the OTC sector, Brian Owens, VMLYR’s SVP of merchandising strategy and inclusive retail, explained recently. Drug chain review. “Covid-19 has increased the importance of having a retail pharmacist recommendation in marketing to the consumer health shopper,” Brian asserts. “When the FDA authorized pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid to expand access to timely treatment, it signaled the realization that pharmacists’ roles could indeed expand to include prescribing,” he observed.
Brian envisions the opportunity for pharmacists to use powerful telehealth platforms in OTC categories in real-time. This can augment the pharmacist through virtual care and continue to build on the strong trust that healthcare consumers already have in retail pharmacists.
I also envision the growing power of retail pharmacies co-located with grocery stores, where consumers can apply their interest and value to food-as-medicine concepts to build healthy grocery carts based on consumers’ own values and sense of value. Breaking down the silos between different retail health divisions—from food to health and beauty to prescription drugs and OTC—will help consumers better organize and “own” their health.