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British consumers have increasingly turned to community pharmacies during COVID-19

Published on 25/09/20 at 12:53pm

British consumers have increasingly turned to community pharmacies during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study.

Research conducted by Ipsos Mori and commissioned by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health EMEA surveyed between 6,000 people between 16 and 75. It found 57% of UK consumers are looking to community pharmacists to provide advice about over-the-counter healthcare products. This rose to 68% in the 45-54 age bracket.

Carlton Lawson, Area Managing Director for Northern Europe at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, said: “The role of community pharmacy has never been more important. Today’s consumers are seeking informed advice on healthcare topics, and pharmacists play a critical role as front-line health professionals.”

It was found that 43% expected community pharmacists to provide advice on how to treat specific everyday health concerns such as coughs and colds, smoking cessation or skin dryness. The same number wanted guidance about health topics they would usually consult the doctor about, and the same proportion would seek out advice about COVID protection; 32% asked about access to vaccinations and 27% for access to diagnostics.

The survey also found that coronavirus has pushed much of the population into using e-commerce and ordering their drugs online. 31% of British consumers now purchase healthcare products online overall, while 42% of young people in the 25-34 range bought products online. 29% of consumers physically visited a pharmacy to buy healthcare products during lockdown.

Carlos Olmos, Vice President Customer Development, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health EMEA, said: “Consumer purchasing habits changed significantly before and during lockdown but not just in terms of online or in-person buying. Pre-lockdown we noted two to five-fold higher demand for some of our products due to panic-buying, followed by increased purchasing in categories such as hand moisturisers up 15-20% and mouth wash up 5-10% depending on the market throughout lockdown.

“This increase reflects greater attention paid to oral health in the extended period between dental visits during lockdown and to dry skin linked to frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitisers.”

Conor Kavanagh

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