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King survey highlights major business challenges

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King survey highlights major business challenges

Consumers want pharmacies to ditch retail products and focus on health care, according to a survey commissioned for the King review.

Nearly half of consumers believe pharmacies should be required to create a “health care atmosphere” rather than a retail feel because the government pays them to dispense PBS medicines.

The responses suggest a need for a pharmacy environment that reflects a more clinical focus, report Melbourne consultancy Hall & Partners Open Mind, which designed the survey.

“Across all the scenarios tested in this research, a dispensing or clinic style pharmacy was preferred, usually by the majority … over a pharmacy environment with an equal or larger focus on retail.”

Some 809 consumers and 1489 pharmacists completed the survey, which helped inform options presented in the review of pharmacy remuneration and regulation interim report .

Here are some of the survey findings:

  1. Patients believe service levels are inconsistent across pharmacies. One in 10 found it difficult to get information about medicines or how to use them. Just 14% said their expectations were met when their medicine was dispensed.
  2. Nearly half (44%) of consumers are uncertain about health services and programs offered by pharmacies. Some believed mass advertising by government is needed.
  3. Consumers support the push to keep pharmacies out of supermarkets.  Only 12% of consumers report access to medicines is an issue. But this mostly related to out of stock products than not being able to locate a pharmacy.
  4. Only 10% of consumers are prepared to pay for pharmacist advice about treatment or medicines.
  5. Non-owner pharmacists would like dispensing payments to include a Medicare payment for advice. Owners prefer payment on a per-prescription basis.
  6. 52% of pharmacists want other pharmacy groups to be included in negotiations around dispensing remunneration. More pharmacists support the inclusion of non-Pharmacy Guild bodies than support Guild inclusion.


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