Purchasing Over-the-counter medicines from Australian pharmacy: What do the pharmacy customers value and expect?
Background: Over-the-counter medicines (OTC) are widely available and can be purchased without a prescription. Their availability means that a customer may choose to purchase them without the involvement of a pharmacy/pharmacist. It is important to understand customer OTC purchasing perceptions and behaviour from a pharmacy to better understand the needs and opportunities in this space.
Objective: This study aimed to examine customers’ key expectations and what they value when purchasing OTC and how the effect of health status/stress and perceived risks/benefits of purchasing OTCs from a pharmacy may influence their OTC shopping behaviour.
Methods: Customers from two metropolitan pharmacies across two different suburbs in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia completed a self-administered questionnaire. Data collection was conducted over a six-week period. The questionnaire examined demographics, current level of health and stress, as well as a range of questions (seven-point Likert-scale) examining perceived benefits and risks, what they value, trust and expect when purchasing OTC.
Results: A total of 86 customers from a broad range of demographics were captured in this study. When asked about their current health state, 41% and 23% respectively indicated that they were stressed and tense when they arrived at the pharmacy but many were feeling well (38%). Most customers strongly agreed/agreed that trust in the advice from a pharmacy (96%), trust in the products (73%), and the altruistic approach of a pharmacy (95%) were critical to them. Further, 82% and 78% respectively disagreed that time pressures or costs were concerns, despite many feeling tense and stressed when they came in. When asked where they intend to buy their future OTC, 89% indicated pharmacy instead of a supermarket.
Conclusions: High levels of trust, confidence and sense of altruism and care were key factors for customers buying OTC from a pharmacy, regardless of time pressures, costs or existing levels of stress and health.
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