Consumers rank top health issues for 2002

March 1, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representative

What are the top three health issues that government should address in 2002?

What are the top three health issues that government should address in 2002? According to the Valley Forge, PA-based pharmaceutical services company AmerisourceBergen, which polled 1,039 people nationwide, reducing the costs of prescription medications led the list with 32% of survey respondents, followed by universal health insurance and a prescription drug benefit program for seniors, which tied at 25%. As for who should fund a prescription drug benefit program for seniors, respondents favored a shared approach, with 63% saying it should be paid for by drug manufacturers, pharmacies, insurance companies and taxpayers.

Handling fraudulent prescriptions

Survey respondents were also asked what pharmacists should do when confronted with a prescription that they suspect may be fraudulent. Nearly three-quarters (73%) said the pharmacist should contact the doctor to confirm the prescription's authenticity. Only 10% said they should refuse to fill the prescription, and 7% said the pharmacist should call the police or question the patient.

Selecting a pharmacy

As in past AmerisourceBergen indexes conducted in 2001, convenience beat out other reasons why consumers selected a particular pharmacy, with 34% of respondents selecting this answer. Next were accepting a person's insurance card (25%), competitive pricing (14%), and staff availability and knowledge (13%).

And while consumers expressed confidence about the quality of the medications purchased in the United States, their faith did not carry over to prescription products purchased outside the country via the Internet. Nearly nine out of ten respondents (87%) said they would not purchase prescription drugs from another country over the Internet.

The majority of consumers expressed confidence in generic medications, with more than three-quarters of respondents saying they are just as effective as their brand-name counterparts.

Screening program preferences

Lastly, consumers were asked what screening programs they would like to see at their local pharmacies. Blood pressure and cholesterol screenings led the list at 27% and 22%, respectively. Next were diabetes screenings (16%), vision or glaucoma exams (10%), and bone density screenings (7%). PR

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