Consumers trust big brands and pharmacists: survey

thoughtful pharmacist: essential workplace skills

Nine out of ten Australians believe that cheap, generic medicines include the same ingredients as more expensive products—but many still trust the big name brands more, Canstar Blue has found.

The consumer research company surveyed almost 3,000 adults and found 92% think the contents of products like painkilling tablets are the same, regardless of price.

But despite that, 36% trust big name brands more and 27% believe they are more effective than cheaper, generic versions.

Head of Canstar Blue, Megan Doyle, says adults in their 30s and 40s were found to be the most likely to reach for the more expensive options.

“Generally the older you get, the less you care about the name on the packaging,” she says.

“Over 50s are the most trusting of and most likely to opt for cheaper options if they’re available.

“Life experience seems to have given them the opinion that there isn’t much difference between the various products on the shelves and they’d rather save some money.

“But for some, the big names are the most attractive proposition. If you’re feeling unwell, you simply want the fastest, most effective relief and that’s precisely the message you get from the big name brands.

“Interestingly though, 88% of respondents said pharmacy staff have asked them if they’d prefer the cheaper, generic alternatives to the big name brands.”

The survey, of adults who have made a purchase from a bricks and mortar pharmacy in the last six months, found customer service to be a greater driver of satisfaction than value for money.

Thirty-one per cent of respondents said customer service was their biggest driver of pharmacy satisfaction, with value for money in second place at 17%

Next were availability of a pharmacist (16%), range of health-related products (14%), advice provided (13%), the range of beauty-related products (5%) and health management checks and programs (4%).

“Once they enter a pharmacy, most people look for good customer service and advice,” says Doyle.

“The price of the products they buy becomes less important, which might also help to explain why so many favour big name brands, even when they believe they include the same ingredients as cheaper versions.”

94% of respondents trust the advice given by in-store pharmacists and 81% would rather buy pharmaceutical products from a pharmacy than a supermarket, the survey found.

And three-quarters would like pharmacists to have more authority to issue repeat prescriptions. The level of trust was again most common amongst the over 50s.

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