Americans continue to rate pharmacists highly on the scales of honesty and ethics, according to Gallup's annual survey of professional integrity.

pharmacists, integrity, honesty, ethics, Gallup, Gallup survey, Steve Anderson, NACDS, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, B. Douglas Hoey, National Community Pharmacists Association, professional integrity, health care, medication counseling

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Pharmacists get high marks in terms of integrity

December 4th, 2012

NEW YORK – Americans continue to rate pharmacists highly on the scales of honesty and ethics, according to Gallup's annual survey of professional integrity.

Of 1,015 U.S. adults polled, 75% rated pharmacists "very high" or "high" in terms of honesty and ethics. That put pharmacists at No. 2 of the 22 professions examined, behind nurses (85% rated very high/high) and ahead of medical doctors (70% rated very high/high) and engineers (70% rated very high/high).

"This year's Gallup survey further emphasizes that pharmacists truly are the face of neighborhood health care, serving as accessible health care providers with nearly all Americans living within five miles of a community pharmacy," Steve Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, said in a statement.

"Their second-place ranking this year illustrates that pharmacists are highly trusted medical professionals, with a minimum of six years of professional education to receive their degree and license," Anderson noted. "Not only do community pharmacists dispense prescription medications, but they also provide a number of health services that help patients improve their health and also reduce health care costs."

Gallup noted that when it comes to integrity, Americans hold the medical professions in particularly high regard. The rating for nurses rose one point from its previous high, and pharmacists are two points higher than their previous record.

The polling firm said pharmacists had regularly topped the list before nurses were added to the survey.

"Congratulations to America's pharmacists for setting a record high in trustworthiness in Gallup's annual survey for 2012," stated National Community Pharmacists Association CEO B. Douglas Hoey. "Since the audience is the American people, this ranking is a testimony to the good will generated by the patient-friendly approach of pharmacists who are accessible, responsive and take tremendous pride helping patients achieve the best health outcomes at the lowest costs."

Hoey pointed out that over the three decades that Gallup has been conducting the survey, the level of respect for pharmacists has been consistently high.

"We don't rest on our laurels; instead, each year we strive to become better. Our hope is that the decision makers in the private and public sector who make policy and choose prescription drug plans will tap further into the expertise and results pharmacists can bring to health care," he explained. "For example, the trust that Americans place in their pharmacists makes these highly trained health care professionals a prime resource to help improve outcomes and reduce costs by boosting patient compliance with their prescribed medication regimen."

The Gallup survey, released Monday, gauges the public's trust of a range of professions, running the gamut from bankers, journalists and business executives to congressman, car salesman and stockbrokers.

Other professions earning strong integrity ratings in this year's poll included dentists (62% of Americans rated very high/high), police officers (58% very high/high), college teachers (53% rated very high/high) and clery (52% rated very high/high).

Professions rating at the bottom of the list included car salesman (8% of respondents rated very high/high), members of Congress (10% rated very high/high), advertising professionals (11% rated very high/high), stockbrokers (11% rated very high/high) and HMO managers (12% rated very high/high).

NACDS' Anderson also cited the breadth of skills and expertise that pharmacists bring to the table as another reason for the public's high level of trust in them.

"Pharmacists work one-to-one with patients providing medication counseling to help them understand the importance of taking medications as prescribed. In addition, community pharmacists administer vaccinations, including flu shots as well as other vaccinations, and provide preventive health and education screenings, as well as disease management," he stated. "Pharmacists are also innovators, working to help electronically integrate health and prescription records, which will help in providing better overall patient care and help reduce administrative costs."