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RxAlly survey: Consumers underutilize pharmacists
October 9th, 2012
LEESBURG, Va. – A poll released by pharmacy alliance RxAlly found that pharmacists' expertise is underutilized even though consumers are well aware of pharmacists' acumen when it comes to medications.
The online survey of more than 2,300 U.S. adults, conducted by Harris Interactive, revealed that 63% of consumers agree that pharmacists are the health care professional with the most specialized training in medication management. However, only 15% of respondents said they have ever discussed a medication maintenance regimen with a pharmacist, and just 49% have discussed any new medication with a pharmacist.
What's more, only 18% of adults polled said they trust a pharmacist the most to help guide and inform them about health care decisions for themselves and their families. Seventy-two percent said they trust their doctor most, followed by friends and family (36%), spouses or significant others (36%), and the Internet (22%).
Still, 76% of adults agree that pharmacists are equally as qualified to answer questions about prescription medications as doctors. Only 25%, though, have regular conversations about their health with a pharmacist and just 39% report that they often rely on a pharmacist for medical advice.
Bruce Roberts, chief executive officer of RxAlly, whose network includes more than 22,000 regional chain and independent pharmacies, as well as Walgreens, cited medication adherence as one of the problems pharmacists can solve.
"There is a significant discrepancy between patient-reported versus proven adherence rates, which underscores the need to leverage pharmacists' specialized training to better educate patients about their medications and how to more correctly take them," Roberts said in a statement. "Ongoing personalized pharmacist care involving regular conversations with a pharmacist is proven to increase adherence rates, improve patient health and reduce costs — a triple win for patients, pharmacists and the entire U.S. health care industry."
Illustrating that this discrepancy, the survey found that 89% of adults said they always take their medicine as directed by their doctor or pharmacist, yet key studies have shown that of the about 187 million Americans who take one or more prescription drugs, up to half don't take their medications as prescribed.
And while pharmacies offer a wide array of convenient, affordable health care services, many people don't take advantage of them, according to the study. Only 27% of respondents have received a blood pressure screening in a pharmacy, and just 22% have received an in-pharmacy flu shot.