Friday, 13 September 2013

Pharmacy Customer Demographics UK

Although all pharmacies with a GPhC contract are required to hold a survey every year, there is no requirement to send the results to the GPhC or PSNC. Therefore, there is a lot of data from community pharmacy about the types of patients which come into pharmacies however, it is kept in a dusty old file in a pharmacy hoping its existence is recognised by a GPhC inspector.

The most recent published data on customers who enter at pharmacy is from the Journal of Public Health entitled "Use of community pharmacies: a population-based survey". The study has a sample size of 10,000 adults aged 35 years plus presumably as this is the main bulk of patients who enter a pharmacy. Is this the first conclusion that can be made? That you average patient coming to a pharmacy is 35+, sounds right. As everyone knows women are the main accessors of healthcare from pharmacies (76%) whereas men surprisingly weren't that far behind (63%).

59% of patients entering a pharmacy do so to collect a prescription, this leaves 41% who go to the pharmacy for something other than a prescription. The study details that out of this 41% but what else is there? Advice? OTC medicines? The study reveals the main incentive for patients to go to pharmacies is "Poor self-rated health… ".

How big is the market, half of the adults surveyed reported using at least one medicine in the previous 2 weeks. So fifty percent of people use at least one medicine every fortnight.

The conclusion of the article is as follows: "Whilst those with poorer health are more likely to visit, a wide range of ages and social classes visit pharmacies each month. This provides an opportunity for public health initiatives to be delivered in pharmacies". The last statement is interesting, whilst public health is more timely to target the aged a US study is quoted in saying that 80% of public healthcare expenditure is for those who are in the last 2 years of their life.

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