General public perceptions of pharmacy and pharmacist business practices in English community pharmacy

A.j. Turner, J. Bush, C.a. Langley

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstractpeer-review


Background: Business practices are increasingly prevalent within modern society especially in community pharmacy where medicines are often treated as simple products to be bought by members of the public. It has been demonstrated that often, a consumer’s focus is on buying a product rather than using a pharmacist’s expertise during such transactions. The commercial nature of community pharmacy is necessary to support the profession and the re-branding of ‘retail pharmacy’ as ‘community pharmacy’ suggests the profession’s own awareness of a tension between commerce and professionalism. This research aims to identify the public’s perceptions of pharmacy and pharmacist business practices in English community pharmacy.

Methods: A self-completion postal questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 9769 members of the public in England. Participants were asked to make a judgement, using a five-point Likert scale, as to whether they considered pharmacy premises as purely business focussed at one extreme to purely healthcare focussed at the other extreme. An additional question was asked asking particpants to make the same judgment (using the same five-point Likert scale) when considering pharmacists. Data were imported into SPSS 22 for analysis.

Results: The overall response rate was 15.7% (n=1,537/9,769). Almost two thirds of respondents reported that they considered pharmacists to be ‘purely healthcare focussed’ or ‘more healthcare focussed than business focussed’ (63.6%, n=960/1,510); this was only true for 42.5% of respondents when considering pharmacy premises (n=644/1,516). Very few respondents considered either pharmacy premises or pharmacists as predominantly business focussed (less than 10% for both groups).

Conclusions: The majority of the public reported that pharmacy premises were half healthcare focussed, half business focussed. Despite practicing in increaingly commerical enviroments, the public considered pharmacists to be healthcare focussed rather than business focussed. Continued promotion of the pharmacist’s healthcare role may be important to maintain this perception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e44-e45
JournalResearch in social and administrative pharmacy
Issue number8
Early online date19 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018
EventInternational Social Pharmacy Workshop 2018 - Leuven, Belgium
Duration: 23 Jul 201826 Jul 2018


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