Pharmacies Compared

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Compare 18 pharmacy chains in Australia on service & advice, prescription dispensing, pharmacist availability, health related products, beauty related products, value for money and overall customer satisfaction, with Canstar Blue’s 2018 review & ratings.

See Our Ratings Methodology

Most Satisfied Customers | Pharmacy4Less

Leading a hugely competitive market, Pharmacy4Less has topped our customer satisfaction ratings for pharmacy chains in 2018. It got five stars from customers on factors including service & advice and value for money.

Less is more? Pharmacy4Less tops customer ratings

Do you know your local pharmacist by his or her first name? A lot of Australians do. Even if you don’t, you may still recognise them when passing in the street and say hello. That’s because a good pharmacist and pharmacy is integral to the community it serves, providing not just a place to dispense prescriptions, but somewhere for people to go with any health-related concerns and questions that may not require a trip to see the doctor, as well as a place to learn more about living a healthier lifestyle and pick up numerous related goods. A local pharmacy provides an essential – almost universally trusted – service many would be lost without.

But not all pharmacy chains are created equal. And at a time when more and more weird and wonderful names are popping up in our suburbs and CBDs – not to mention online – it might be worth trying a new one. Not just because they may have a broader range of products to browse, but because the customer service and support could be even better than you’ve previously experienced. The aim of our research is to find out which of Australia’s many pharmacy chains are offering five-star service and value, and which have room to improve.

You may think that pharmacies generally fall into two categories – the discount stores where you can bag a bargain on your favourite makeup and vitamins, and the ones where you probably pay a bit extra, but the focus is more on quality services than cheaper prices. This is probably a fair way to summarise some chemists, but with 18 chains featuring in our 2018 review, others may surprise you. So, which pharmacy chain topped our customer ratings this year?

Pharmacy4Less was the only chain to score five stars for overall customer satisfaction in 2018, as well as most other categories. The 18 chains featured in the results were ranked in the following order for overall satisfaction:

  • 1st Pharmacy4Less
  • 2nd Blooms the Chemist
  • 3rd Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse
  • 4th Cincotta Discount Chemist
  • 5th Friendlies
  • 6th Guardian
  • 7th Amcal
  • 8th Discount Drug Stores
  • 9th Terry White Chemmart
  • 10th Capital Chemist
  • 11th PharmaSave
  • 12th Soul Pattinson
  • 13th Chemist Warehouse
  • 14th Priceline
  • 15th National Pharmacies
  • 16th Wizard Pharmacy
  • 17th MyChemist
  • 18th Chemist King

While Pharmacy4Less topped the ratings, some other chains performed well in specific areas. Blooms the Chemist, Friendlies, Capital Chemist, Good Price, Cincotta and Chemist Warehouse also stood out in one or more areas, though the majority of chains only recorded three stars for overall satisfaction. Ultimately, with so much competition, consumers have high expectations – and plenty of alternatives if they have a bad experience in-store.

Pharmacy loyalty 

Despite the number of different pharmacy chains now available – particularly in our CBDs – six out of ten respondents to our survey (61%) said they always visit the same store. So, why is that? We asked survey respondents to give us the reasons for their loyalty and found:

  • Convenience is a big factor for 34%
  • 29% always go back because their pharmacy offers good service and advice
  • 24% cited a good range of products as a reason for returning time after time
  • Price is a big driver for 23%, citing cheap products as a reason for their loyalty
  • 13% said good script management services

Whatever the reasons for consumer loyalty, the vast majority of overall survey respondents (93%) agreed that they trust the advice they receive from pharmacists. In addition, 83% said they would rather buy their medicines from a pharmacist than a supermarket.

Drivers of customer satisfaction

Some pharmacy chains clearly focus on low prices, while others put greater attention on providing quality services and support. As well as finding out which pharmacy chains are highest-rated in Australia, Canstar Blue’s research also identified what drives customer satisfaction once we go in-store and do what we need to do. Drivers of satisfaction are listed in order of importance:

  • Service & advice provided
  • Prescription availability / speed of dispensing
  • Value for money
  • Availability of pharmacist
  • Range of health products
  • Range of beauty products

While good service remains the most important driver of customer satisfaction, and many consumers are happy to pay slightly more in-store if they know the service is good, you won’t want to pay too much more than you need to. Ultimately, the best pharmacy for your needs and budget will be the one that ticks the boxes on good service and reasonable prices. This year, Pharmacy4Less has come out on top of a hugely competitive field, so it doesn’t hurt to shop around.

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Frequently asked questions

Canstar Blue surveyed 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have made a purchase from a pharmacy in the last 6 months – in this case, 4,982 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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