|Which of these do you consider benefits of the pharmacists in your area?|
|Convenient and available||88%|
|They provide excellent advice about medicines and ways to treat minor illness||76%|
|No need to wait or make an appointment||74%|
|They're open when the doctor's surgery is closed||63%|
In 1991, API (Australian Pharmaceutical Industries) undertook market research to determine what consumers wanted from their community pharmacist. The findings from this research concluded overwhelmingly that consumers wanted access to a knowledgeable pharmacist, who would give them written and verbal advice about their medication. The collated research showed that consumers wanted to know:
It was known at this time that many pharmacists informed consumers about how to take their medication and what it was for, but few addressed the more complex issues of side effects and drug interactions. It was realised at this time that it was important that pharmacists were available and able to explain drug information to consumers.
The basis for developing the Pharmacist Advice brand was the philosophy that pharmacists should be accessible to consumers in order to answer their questions, assess any possible drug side effects and interactions, and provide them with written and verbal information.
Another goal for Pharmacist Advice pharmacies was to have available comprehensive information retrieval systems which pharmacists could use as a reference. The most innovative change, however, that was an integral part of the Pharmacist Advice brand was that all members of the group had to make the commitment to embrace the concept of Forward Pharmacy. The underlying philosophy of Forward Pharmacy was, and still is, about facilitating consumer access to the pharmacist. The importance of this has been reiterated in a recent Australian study showing that the majority of consumers value the availability of advice about medicines which they seek from pharmacists.
The Pharmacist Advice brand is therefore highly relevant in today’s society and provides a significant point of difference from other pharmacies in terms of consumer accessibility to pharmacists for advice about medicines and minor ailments.