Even with more digital options, many consumers still like to see their pharmacist in person, says J.D. Power director of health intelligence Greg Truex.

Consumers have more digital options to shop for their prescriptions online, but many patients still like their face-to-face meeting with a pharmacist, says a new consumer study from research firm J.D. Power.

The study, which is based on survey responses from 12,059 pharmacy customers who recently filled a prescription, also finds that CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. are the drug store chains patients are most satisfied with.

J.D. Power scored drug store chains on a scale of 1 to 1,000 based on its consumer survey of prescription drug buyers. Among all drug stores, Good Neighbor Pharmacy ranked highest overall among brick-and-mortar chain drug store pharmacies, with a score of 914. Health Mart (893) was second and Rite Aid Pharmacy third (865).

Sam’s Club ranked highest overall among brick-and-mortar mass merchandiser pharmacies, with a score of 890. Costco (879) ranked second and CVS/pharmacy inside Target (869) ranked third, according to J.D. Power. Among mail-order pharmacies, Humana Pharmacywas highest overall with a score of 900, compared with Kaiser Permanente Pharmacy (886) in second and OptumRx (869) ranked third.

Increasingly, with the advent of new online drugstore competitors such as Amazon PillPack, big drug store chains such as CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid are rushing to turn their ecommerce sites into virtual healthcare shopping malls where customers can fill and refill prescriptions, see a doctor online and perform related transactions.


But even with more digital options, many consumers still like to see their pharmacist in person, says J.D. Power director of health intelligence Greg Truex. “As technology companies promise to change the way Americans address their pharmacy needs, our data suggests that changing such entrenched behavior will be an uphill battle,” Truex says. “Customers enjoy visiting their brick-and-mortar pharmacy and they get a great deal of satisfaction from speaking directly with pharmacists.”

Other survey findings include:

  • Most pharmacy customers that communicate with the pharmacist and staff do so in-person (89%), even though customers that use email or online live chat to interact with the pharmacist or staff are equally or more satisfied.
  • Satisfaction with the pharmacist is above 940 (on a 1,000-point scale) when pharmacists cover four or more topics with the customer during their interaction, compared with just one (884) or two (917) topics.
  • About two-fifths (42%) of customers who are aware of their pharmacy’s health and wellness services have used one of the services in the past year.
  • Only 20% of customers use a pharmacy’s mobile app, but those who did have satisfaction scores as much as 23 points higher than those who do not, says J.D. Power.

“The potential for technology disruption is there,” Truex says.Although the frequency of use of digital solutions is low, early adopters are showing high levels of satisfaction.”