A ‘user pays’ remuneration model for cognitive services?

$1 being picked up

Do pharmacists’ own values act as barriers to charging patients for cognitive pharmacy services?

PhD candidate at the School of Pharmacy, Queensland University of Technology Bernice Prior believed community pharmacists were underpaid… sparking her research into the area.

“My research is investigating a user pays model of remuneration for cognitive pharmacy services,” she told the AJP.

“More specifically I aim to identify if pharmacists’ values are barriers or facilitators to charging patients for cognitive pharmacy services, and if there are specific services that pharmacists are more willing to charge patients for.”

Feeling that community pharmacists were underpaid, she began exploring community pharmacy revenue.

“When looking into revenue for community pharmacy, it became evident that due to decreased government remuneration and increased competition there was a need for new revenue streams to be identified,” Ms Prior said.

“One alternate revenue stream would be cognitive pharmacy services, performed by the pharmacist and remunerated by the patient. 

Anecdotally pharmacists seem unwilling to charge for their services. Therefore, for this revenue stream to be successful, pharmacists’ willingness to charge for these services and patients’ willingness to pay need to be explored.”

She said that to date, the focus of research into whether cognitive pharmacy services could be introduced into the community sector has been clinical, “without much consideration of where remuneration could come from”.

“While some of the research to date has begun to explore patients’ willingness to pay, there is no published research on pharmacists’ willingness to charge,” she said.

“Having a greater understanding of pharmacists’ personal factors of influence, such as values, could assist in understanding pharmacists’ willingness to charge for these services. 

“Therefore, this part of my PhD is a survey which explores pharmacists’ values and their impact on willingness to charge patients for cognitive pharmacy services.”

Ms Prior is looking for registered pharmacists and interns employed in community pharmacy, or owners of community pharmacies, to participate in an anonymous online survey.

The survey includes a validated values tool by Shalom Schwartz that has been used to explore values in over 40 countries in the world, Ms Prior said.

The online survey is expected to take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Completing the survey also gives participants the opportunity to go in the draw to with one of six $50 eftpos gift vouchers.

For those wanting to participate the QR code is below and the link to the survey is:


The Terms and Conditions of the prize draw can be located at:


This study has been approved by the QUT Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number 1900001163).

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  1. Paul Sapardanis

    Three years ago I decided to charge $3 for each bp test request. After being abused a third time on how dare I request payment I stopped the service. I have found that explaining that I don’t have a bp machine offends people less than asking a 2 cold coin fee. Good luck with charging for cognitive services

  2. Jeff Lerner

    What are pharmacy cognitive services?

  3. Michael Ortiz

    The question of who should pay for Pharmacist Professional services is not new.

    I look back over the last 40 years at the evolution of Pharmacy practice and there has been a lot of talk and not much action. Community Pharmacist have taken the path of least resistance and sold products and not have not charged fees for professional services.

    It could be argued that the Pharmacy Professional organisations have failed to provide leadership in developing Pharmacists professional services and a funding model to support them. The profession has struggled with the balance between professional and commercial activities. Most Pharmacies rely on the PBS for their income and very few pharmacists can make a living off providing professional services. It disappoints me that neither the Guild or the Society has made any attempt to establish a schedule of fees for professional services similar to the AMA.

    Pharmacists lack the confidence to charge for their services with the exceptions of Dose administration aids, methadone maintenance and medication reviews. Pharmacists have failed convince the public that their services add sufficient value and that pharmacists should be compensated for adding value and not just supplying a product. A GP charges $70 for a 15 minute consultation and consumers won’t pay for a pharmacist to monitor their blood pressure.

    I came to the conclusion long ago, that if pharmacists can’t convince consumers that their services provide sufficient value to the consumer that the consumers is prepared to pay for then there is little point providing that service. For example, consumers can easily access a pharmacist to ask about a medical problem like a migraine, while they have to wait two days for an appointment to see their GP.
    How much would a consumer pay for immediate migraine relief, rather than wait 2 days to see a GP.

    In the end it will come back to the value added and how it is perceived by the consumer.

    “Consumers won’t value your time unless they have to pay for it”

    See how little things have changed over 30 years

    Ortiz M; Walker WL; Thomas R, 1992, ‘Community pharmacists’ professional role orientation. Comparison of self-derived norms with perceived group norms’, Journal of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, vol. 9, pp. 97 – 103

    Ortiz M; Walker WL; Thomas R, 1992, ‘Job satisfaction dimensions of Australian community pharmacists’, Journal of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, vol. 9, pp. 149 – 158

    Ortiz M; Walker WL; Thomas R, 1989, ‘Physicians – Friend or Foe? Comparisons between pharmacists’ and physicians’ perceptions of the pharmacist’s role’, Journal of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, vol. 6, pp. 59 – 68

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