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Community pharmacies still ahead with local consumers

From left: Marco Herrera, senior manager of Bayer’s consumer division business unit, and Raúl Rodríguez, president of Droguería Betances.

From left: Marco Herrera, senior manager of Bayer’s consumer division business unit, and Raúl Rodríguez, president of Droguería Betances.

Community pharmacies continue holding a preferential place among Puerto Rican consumers, particularly as it relates to the purchase of prescription drugs, according to the findings of the second edition of “Marketing Research in Puerto Rico: Recipe for the ideal drugstore,” commissioned by Droguería Betances and Bayer’s consumer division

The study seeks to identify areas of opportunity for the island’s community pharmacies market. The study attributed the findings to the high level of satisfaction and trust consumers said to have on the pharmacist and the personal attention they receive while in-store.

The quantitative study was commissioned to Gaither International, and conducted Dec. 11-29 through 500 interviews of adults in Puerto Rico, and suggests that the service consumers received, drug prices, and the waiting time at drug counter are spearheading the advantages community pharmacies have over chain stores.

In total, 91 percent of people who visited a community pharmacy expressed satisfaction with the service received, and 85 percent (versus 66 percent in chain pharmacies) expressed to have found better drug prices.

In terms of speed of service, 80 percent of respondents said the line to deliver their medications was faster at the neighborhood stores, in comparison to 57 percent who favored the chain store. Regarding prescription pick-up, the numbers were 79 percent to 47 percent in favor of community pharmacies. Respondents also noted that in their last visit to a drugstore, 77 percent went to drop-off or pick up a prescription in community pharmacies, nearly tripling the 26 percent result for the chain store, the study stated.

Meanwhile, the consumer’s level of satisfaction with their relationship with the pharmacist was also in favor of community pharmacies. During their last visit, 32 percent of respondents consulted the pharmacist, expressing a 93 percent satisfaction level as a result of such interaction. In the case of chain stores, pharmacist consultations were 9 percent, with a satisfaction level of 89 percent.

Among the most important areas of opportunity noted in the study are the use of marketing tools and discounts, such as in-store ads, to maximize the consumer’s visit to the community pharmacy. That is, to the extent that community pharmacies make a better product variety and deals available, the consumer will make a more complete purchase, the study noted.

Similarly, community pharmacies will attract the younger population by integrating technology as a means of contacting and communicating with them, in addition to continuing the strong relationship and good service offered to the aging population.

“Certainly, we see great opportunities for the community pharmacies sector to continue to strengthen and contribute to Puerto Rico’s economic upturn,” said Raúl Rodríguez, president of Droguería Betances.

“That service that characterizes them and the trust that the patient has historically had on the drug counter and their local pharmacist will be key to that growth and with the necessary adjustments, they will consolidate their leadership and preference among Puerto Rican consumers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Marco Herrera, senior manager of Bayer’s consumer division business unit, said the pharmaceutical’s commitment is to support any strategy that is directed at improving the quality of life of citizens.

“For us, a relationship with community pharmacies is a natural fit, because we know they are a major source of support for health care and quality of life in which Puerto Ricans trust,” Herrera said.

The study will be presented during this weekend’s Droguería Betances convention, to be attended by 600 pharmacists and community pharmacy owners.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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