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Where Should Pharmacies be Located in the Future?

July 30, 2001

Where should the drug store of the future be located?

VALLEY FORGE, Pa., Jul 30, 2001 /PRNewswire/ --Adjacent to doctor's offices, according to 56 percent of respondents in the second AmeriSource Index, a nationwide, quarterly survey released today by AmeriSource Health Corporation. Shopping malls were a distant second -- with 19 percent of respondents selecting this choice. Trailing behind were the Internet (5 percent), office buildings (3 percent), health clubs and gyms (2 percent), and restaurants (1 percent).

The survey polled 1,022 consumers about a range of topics including the types of special services they would like to see in their local pharmacies, Internet buying, prescription purchasing patterns, and where they received the best service.


Despite the Internet's initial promise to transform consumer-purchasing habits, most consumers still purchase prescription medications through conventional channels. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they had not purchased medications over the Internet and did not intend to do so in the future. These findings mirror the results from the first AmeriSource Index, conducted in May 2001. In that survey, 64 percent of respondents said they had not purchased prescriptions over the Internet and had no plans to do so in the future.

Expanding Services

What special services did consumers want to see in their local pharmacies? Nutrition information, dietary aids, vitamins and minerals topped the list of choices offered to survey respondents, with 21 percent making this selection. Next were general health education programs (15 percent), followed by diabetes prevention and treatment programs (12 percent), health screenings (11 percent) and diet and weight loss information or programs (10 percent). Cholesterol- reduction information or programs came in sixth place, at 7 percent, followed by pain management programs (6 percent) and immunizations (5 percent). Not surprisingly, cholesterol-reduction programs scored higher among older adults, with 15 percent of 55-to-64 year olds choosing this option and 11 percent of respondents 65 and over selecting it as well.

Consumers were almost evenly split on whether they would be willing to pay a modest service fee for these special services. Forty-nine percent said they would, while 48 percent said they would not. However, a majority of women and respondents ages 18-to-44 said they would be willing to pay for these services. Conversely, older adults (ages 55-to-65+) were more reluctant to pay for additional services.

Herbal Medicines Rank High

When asked what offerings their pharmacies should add or expand, the top choice was literature or diagnostic information on diseases, with 28 percent selecting this option from a list of five choices. Vitamins and herbal medicines, however, also scored high, placing second, with 25 percent of respondents making this choice. Vitamins and herbal medicines were even more popular among 25-to-34 year olds, with 34 percent in this age group selecting this answer. Patient counseling services came in third at 23 percent. Film development and photocopying, and cosmetics trailed, at 8 percent and 3 percent respectively.

Selecting a Pharmacy

Once again, the AmeriSource Index asked consumers what factors led them to select a particular pharmacy to fill most of their prescriptions. In the May 2001 survey, a convenient location was the top choice. This time, respondents were asked to choose the most important factor "other than convenient location." Accepting an insurance card came in first at 22 percent. Next were low prices and personalized service, which nearly tied at 20 percent and 19 percent respectively. Trust came in fourth at 15 percent and once again ranked higher among older adults 55-to-65+ (18 percent), as it did in the May 2001 survey. Trust was also important to 45-to-54 year olds, with 17 percent of respondents in this age group selecting this answer. Sound medical advice and less waiting time competed for last place, at 12 percent and 11 percent respectively.

Who Offers the Best Service?

When asked which type of pharmacy offers the best service, locally owned neighborhood drugs stores edged out chains, 39 percent to 36 percent. Supermarkets were a distant third at 15 percent, with mass merchandisers far behind at 4 percent.

The AmeriSource Index

The AmeriSource Index is a quarterly survey of trends, purchasing behaviors and opinions about pharmacists and their customers. The first survey was conducted in May 2001. Future surveys will be released on a quarterly basis.

About AmeriSource

AmeriSource Health Corporation (NYSE: AAS), with approximately $14 billion in annualized operating revenue, is a leading distributor of pharmaceutical and related healthcare products and services, and the industry's largest provider of pharmaceuticals to the acute care/health systems market. Headquartered in Valley Forge, PA, the Company serves its base of about 15,000 customers accounts through a national network of more than 22 strategically located distribution facilities. For news and additional information about the company, visit its web site at

                           PHARMACY SURVEY RESULTS
         Opinion Research Corporation International Survey Conducted
                      For AmeriSource Health Corporation
                              1,022 Respondents

     1. Where do you think the pharmacy of the future should be located?


        Adjacent to doctors' offices                                 56%
        In shopping malls                                            19%
        On the Internet                                               5%
        In office buildings                                           3%
        Via the mail                                                  3%
        Near health clubs and gyms                                    2%
        Near restaurants                                              1%
        Don't know/none of these                                     10%

     2. Which of the following special services would you MOST like to find at
        your local pharmacy?

                                                        55-64  65+  TOTAL

        Nutrition information, dietary aids, vitamins
         and minerals                                                21%
        General health education programs                            15%
        Diabetes prevention and treatment programs                   12%
        Health screenings                                            11%
        Diet and weight loss information or programs                 10%
        Cholesterol-reduction information or programs    15%   11%    7%
        Pain management programs                                      6%
        Immunizations                                                 5%
        Trained cosmeticians                                          1%
        Don't know/none of these                                     12%

     3. Would you be willing to pay a modest service fee for any of these

                             18-24 25-34  35-44  45-54  55-64  65+  TOTAL

        Yes                   56%   58%    54%                       49%
        No                                               59%   63%   48%
        Don't know                                                    3%

     4. Which of the following would you MOST like to see your pharmacy add or

                                   25-34                            TOTAL

        Literature or diagnostic
         information on diseases                                     28%
        Vitamins and herbal
         medicines                  34%                              25%
        Patient counseling services                                  23%
        Film development,
         photocopying and other
         similar services                                             8%
        Cosmetics                                                     3%
        Don't know/none of these                                     13%

     5. Many people have begun to purchase prescription medications and
        nonprescription medications over the Internet.  Which of the
        following statements MOST closely describes your feeling about this?


        I HAVE NOT purchased medications over the Internet,
         and DO NOT intend to do so in the future                    65%
        I HAVE NOT purchased medications over the Internet,
         but WOULD consider doing so in the future                   29%
        I HAVE purchased medications over the Internet and
         plan to do so again                                          3%
        I HAVE purchased medications over the Internet but
         DO NOT plan to do so again                                   1%
        Don't know                                                    2%

     6. Other than a convenient location, which quality is MOST important to
        you in selecting a pharmacy?

                                                 45-54  55-64  65+  TOTAL

        Accept your insurance card                                   22%
        Low prices                                                   20%
        Personalized attention and service                           19%
        Trust                                     17%    18%   18%   15%
        Sound medical advice                                         12%
        Less waiting time for prescriptions                          11%
        Don't know/none of these                                      1%

     7. In what type of pharmacy have you experienced the BEST service?


        Locally owned neighborhood drug store                        39%
        Chain drug store                                             36%
        Supermarket pharmacy                                         15%
        Mass merchandiser                                             4%
        Don't know/none of these                                      6%

Michael N. Kilpatric of AmeriSource, +1-610-727-7118, or, or Iris Raylesberg of Kapnek Communications, +1-215-830-9890, or, for AmeriSource

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