The new consumer of medicine — the pharmacy technicians' perspective
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Objective: Market research, and more recently health services research, has adopted the concept of the ‘new consumer’ to describe customers/patients who are becoming more demanding. This study aims to determine the relevance of the concept ‘new consumer’ for pharmacy practice, in light of the theory of ‘risk society’.
Method: Qualitative in-depth interviews were carried out with seven pharmacy technicians from six different pharmacies in the Copenhagen area, Denmark. They were asked to describe developments, over time, in consumer behaviour. They were asked to focus on three themes: information, the authority of the pharmacy staff, and their predictions of the future pharmacy customer.
Results: Young customers, particularly parents of pre-school children, as well as the chronically ill appeared to share the characteristics associated with the ‘new consumer’. They were: information strong (well-informed) and information seeking (inquisitive); asked critical questions; showed a desire to initiate dialogue; sought counselling and in general no longer blindly accepted the authority of the pharmacy staff.
Conclusion: According to pharmacy technicians a ‘new consumer’ does exist and is visible in community pharmacies in Copenhagen. Seen in light of the theory of risk society, we further conclude that the behaviour of the ‘new consumer’ is indicative of an attempt to minimize risk of drug therapy.
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