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Consumer support for pharmacy is strong, but there are issues looming, report reveals

The 2017 iteration of the Health Futures Report reveals strong levels of support for, and knowledge of pharmacy among Australian consumers.

Australians generally have “positive impressions of their local pharmacy”, the report, prepared on behalf of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia revealed.

The words most associated with pharmacy were ‘friendly’ (by 63% of respondents), ‘professional’ (55%) and ‘reliable’ (55%). Three out of five respondents indicated pharmacies benefitted their community by being an integral health service.

However, there were mixed messages on some topics such as dose administration aids which 77% of respondents agreed were a helpful service when taking prescription medication (surprisingly higher rated by younger age groups), but 46% of all respondents said the price of $5 per pack would hinder them from purchasing.

Also, 41% said they had taken a pharmacist-only medication in the last 12 months, with many of these soon to be inconvenienced by the shifting of codeine-containing medications to S3, the report summary said.

Speaking to AJP recently, social researcher Mark McCrindle, who compiled the research, said pharmacies are viewed as an integral part of the local community, and the most commonly used service is purchasing prescription only medicines (75%).

“While the Builder generation (aged 72+) are the biggest user of prescription medication, they are also least likely to miss a prescribed dosage,” he said.

“Full time workers are the most likely to forget a dose of prescription medication (58% of full time workers forget three or more doses a month)”.

In addition, Mr McCrindle said the report highlighted some interesting findigns for the future of pharmacy with 72% of respondents thinking it would be very/somewhat convenient if their eHealth records were immediately available after visiting the doctor.

“Pharmacists should be encouraged by the positive response Australians have towards their local pharmacy, and that they feel they are an integral part of their community,” he said.

The online survey was completed by 1001 Australians earlier this year.

The Healthy Futures Report 2017: 10 findings of note

  • 31% purchased beauty products in the last year
  • 21% had purchased complementary medicines
  • 18% said being able to fill scripts requested via phone, email or SMS would improve their compliance
  • 35% said the pharmacy providing repeat scripts without need for a doctors’ visit would improve compliance
  • 7% had used a MedsCheck service at a local pharmacy (another 15% were not sure if they had)
  • 35% of respondents described their local pharmacy as ‘fast’
  • 36% described it as ‘safe’
  • 27% described it as a ‘medicines expert’
  • 94% trusted pharmacists to be a reliable distribution channel for medical cannabis
  • 39% thought pharmacists were advocates promoting healthy living


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