Canstar Blue’s 2021 review of pharmacies has seen 14 retailers compared and rated on their service & advice, range of products, prescription availability & speed of dispensing, availability of pharmacists, value for money and overall satisfaction.
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*Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. By default, brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are sorted by the mean overall satisfaction score as rated by consumers. You can click the arrows at the top of any column in the table to sort by the results in that column.
^ By clicking on a brand or blue or green button titled ‘details’, ‘shop online’, ‘buy online’ or ‘go to site’, you will leave Canstar Blue and be taken to our referral partner to compare. You agree that Canstar Blue’s terms and conditions apply to this referral. If you click on a brand that our referral partner does not cover, you will be taken to a brand page on Canstar Blue or that brand’s website. Canstar Blue research finalised in June 2021, published in July 2021.
Aussies have rated Guardian best in Canstar Blue’s latest pharmacy review, giving it five stars in most categories. These include prescription availability & speed of dispensing, service & advice, availability of pharmacists, value for money and overall satisfaction.
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 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.
To help make the large selection of pharmacy chains easier to swallow, we asked more than 4,100 consumers for their feedback on the pharmacies (physical and online) they visited in the last six months. Respondents rated chains on their prescription availability and speed of dispensing, service & advice, availability of pharmacists, product range, value for money and overall satisfaction. Those that met the minimum required sample size of 30 responses are featured in our results.
In 2021, Aussies prescribed Guardian as the number one pharmacy after it received five-star reviews in five out of six research categories ─ including overall satisfaction!
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Here are the best pharmacies in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2021 review:
Discount Drug Stores
Blooms The Chemist
Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse
Cincotta Discount Chemist
Guardian rated best with five stars for overall satisfaction, while most other pharmacies achieved four stars overall. Cincotta Discount Chemist trailed behind on three stars for overall satisfaction.
Pharmacy4Less took the lead for product range and matched Guardian’s five-star review for value for money. Pharmacy 777 similarly scored top marks for prescription availability and dispensing speed.
About the Winner – Guardian
Guardian has been looking after Aussies for more than 30 years, with 150+ stores open nationwide. It offers a variety of services, including medication packing, home delivery and e-scripts. It additionally provides general health advice and solutions for heart health, diabetes, sleep apnoea, respiratory health and skin-related concerns. People looking for help with weight management can also check out Guardian’s ‘Be Good To Yourself’ wellbeing program, which offers diet and lifestyle solutions.
Guardian was awarded the title of best pharmacy for overall satisfaction in 2012, 2013, 2017, and 2021 – with five-star reviews for prescription availability & speed of dispensing, service & advice, availability of pharmacists, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Despite there being so many pharmacy chains available – as well as a number of smaller, locally-owned chemists – we’re often creatures of habit when it comes to picking up our prescriptions or medications. This year, we found that 51% of survey respondents generally stick to the same pharmacy chain – slightly up from 48% at the same time last year and 42% in the year prior. Of those who stick to the same pharmacy, we asked them why they kept going back, with answers including:
Good customer service: 58%
Good range of products: 48%
Cheapest products: 35%
Script management services: 27%
Loyalty or points program: 17%
Ability to order online and get home delivery: 11%
Drivers of customer satisfaction
Some pharmacy chains clearly focus on low prices, while others put greater attention on providing quality services and support. In addition to 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. Drivers of satisfaction are listed in order of importance below:
Service & advice provided: 23%
Prescription availability and speed of dispensing: 23%
Availability of pharmacists: 23%
Range of products: 17%
Value for money: 14%
While getting bang for your buck is important to many, receiving good service and advice to get you back to feeling your best was again the biggest driver of satisfaction amongst survey respondents this year (23%). This was on par with availability of pharmacists (23%) and prescription availability & speed of dispensing (23%).
Which pharmacy chain should I visit?
With pharmacies offering more than just over-the-counter meds, there’s plenty to consider when it comes to choosing a pharmacy chain to keep going back to. Script management services such as text notifications, for example, appeared as a popular feature many survey respondents use (23%), especially among those who visit the same pharmacy.
While finding a pharmacy that’s easy on the wallet will win over some shoppers, having a pharmacist that is friendly, or stocks the products you’re after, can be the deciding factor in a market that isn’t short on options.
Ultimately which pharmacy chain you decide to visit, and will keep visiting, will come down to personal preferences, as well as other factors such as location and budget, meaning that it’s always best to shop around to ensure that you’re getting the deal, and the best service.
About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Canstar Blue surveyed more than 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 six months (refers to both physical and online pharmacies) – in this case, 4,153 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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