Duane Reade Sucks As A Pharmacy, Target Is Pretty Good

According to JD Power and associates survey of pharmacies, that blight on New York City, Duane Reade, placed last in the rankings of chain pharmacies. From the WSJ Health Blog:

The results are based on an online survey of 6,543 U.S. consumers conducted last fall. The top retail pharmacy was Medicine Shoppe, an international franchise business owned by the drug distributor Cardinal Health.

Here are the rankings in order:
1. Medicine Shoppe
2. CVS/Pharmacy
3. Walgreen’s
4. Longs Drugs
5. Rite Aid
6. Brooks-Eckerd
7. Duane Reade

The rankings also surveyed “big box” chains for overall customer satisfaction. Target cleaned up with “866 points and receives the highest ratings in all factors driving customer satisfaction.” Walmart and Costco fought it out for most crappy with Costco winning the battle of who could suck the most by one point. —MEGHANN MARCO

Pharmacy Survey Says: Medicine Shoppe No. 1 [WSJ Health Blog]
JD Power National Retail Pharmacy Satisfaction Study
Duane Reade Ranked #7 out of 7 ::cue surprise face:: [I Hate Duane Reade]


Edit Your Comment

  1. eross says:

    Reports like this drive me nuts because of their hidden bias — by omitting independents, they obscure the fact that independent pharmacies beat the chains decisively when they are included. (The independently owned Medicine Shop franchises still rate much higher than the corporate chains).

    Try googling: “consumer reports” “independent pharmacies” for examples.

  2. wikkit says:

    As much as it is possible to ‘love’ a pharmacy, my wife lovvvvvvvvves Target’s pharmacy. The pharmacists are always friendly, informative, and very helpful. They also bend over backwards to make the prescription as inexpensive as possible. It’s a great way to get people into their stores, and it certainly works with our family.

  3. JDAC says:

    I used to use a Target pharmacy in Jacksonville. Those guys were great!

    They’d call to make sure certain medications were working out OK, were lightning fast (I’d sometimes walk out 5 minutes after handing in my script with the goods), and best of all, they knew my name.

    It’s gotta be good when a big box pharma can see me coming and have the prescriptions in hand for me to pick up.

  4. Hitchcock says:

    Hmmm, I wonder what Costco does wrong? Everyone I know loves them. My only complaint with the pharmacy is the hours its open suck. I wonder if that’s what brought them down, or if it was something else. I don’t use their Pharmacy because of the poor hours, so don’t know if it has other problems.

    I know I love my general Costco experience.

  5. mopar_man says:


    I have a feeling it’s a biased thing like eross said. I love Costco (when I can get to one) and my parents use it all the time with no complaints. I’m not surprised that Wal-Mart was at the bottom though. I’ve convinced family members to try other pharmacies in town and while they’re paying a little more than Wal-Mart, they’re much happier with the service.

  6. nweaver says:

    Target also has those REALLY nice patented bottle designs.

  7. jwissick says:

    I would hate to see how bad those below Walgreens is. They really screwed me this week when I was trying to get a script filled. They told me they could order it and have it in a week. They ordered it and it never came in… and then they never called me to tell me it didn’t come in. So when I went to pick it up (with only 2 days remaining of my previous script) they said they called me (they didn’t) to tell me it did not come in. Then they tried to tell me that I already picked up the filled script. Nothing but pure crap from Walgreens. They lost a customer this time… for good.

  8. nursetim says:

    I started using Target Pharmacy on a whim after becoming frustrated by the previous pharmacy we used, Meijer Pharmacy (Meijer is a regional chain stores that combines grocery and general goods) You drop a prescription off there, it always took them 20-30 minutes to fill it, even though there were at least 6 people behind the counter. Plus they always seemed to be in a bad mood and upset that you were there. The Target we use has the friendliest people I have ever seen in retail. It takes 5-10 minutes usually to get prescriptions, they are very helpful, plus I like the new bottles they use.

  9. Triteon says:

    @eross: There is no “hidden bias”, the study is– and states– the intent is to evaluate chain pharmacies only. Power isn’t saying these are the best pharmacies, only the best of the chains.
    (I hope the folks from Hideg Pharmacy in my hometown are reading this– thanks guys!)

  10. tcabeen says:

    I Love Target Pharmacy. There. I said it. And I mean it. I had to get a stupid prescrip for antibiotics for Three Days before I was getting surgery. The Pharmacist, knowing I would need antibiotics AFTER the surgery, offered to call my doctor to get the prescription changed to include everything I would need before and after surgery, thereby saving me a $40 copay. I didn’t take him up on it, because it was two different doctors prescribing, and would take longer to work out than I had, but I really appreciated the gesture. They’ve been nothing but awesome.

    Being a fan of treehugging, the big plastic bottles bother me, especially when my prescrip is for THREE PILLS. Too bad I can’t reuse the bottles, but I can see why that’s unreasonable when dealing with medicines…

  11. d0x says:

    Target gas a great pharmacy, today i got a script filled. It took 10 min from drop off to pick up. Somehow it managed to cost me $13 with no insurance…heres the kicker.

    I have insurance and at CVS when I use my insurance for the exact same thing (also generic) it costs me $15.

  12. tcabeen says:

    @d0x: Target has recently followed Wal-mart’s lead on lowering the cost of many generics. I believe the program is active in all 50 states now. It would depend on your exact prescription, but a quick googling (site:target.com ?) may do the trick.

  13. Anitra says:

    I’ve always had good experiences with CVS, no matter what store I’ve gone to. It’s always been fast, and the pharmacists have been pleasant and helpful.

    I once went in with 2 prescriptions (for a mild allergy/rash), and the pharmacist said “Do you have prescription insurance?” I said that I didn’t, and he told me “Both of these are also sold as over-the-counter products, which will be cheaper for you. Let me help you find them in the store.” It blew me away that he would not only tell me that there was a cheaper option, but come out from behind the counter and get them for me.

  14. up2late says:

    There was recently a study done on generic drug pricing that found that Walgreens charged $117 for the same generic for which Costco charged around $10. sorry I don’t have a direct link, but I believe it’s here on Consumerist or just google “generic drug pricing comparision”

  15. traezer says:

    I hate to say this, but I go to Walmart. I currently dont have health insurance, and I can still get my script for $4. Otherwise, I would have to pay $30 or more else where. (and so far I dont have any complaints, the girl behind the counter is really nice.) When I had health insurance I went to Walgreens, which was fine. Before that I used my local grocery store’s pharm, and they were pretty good as well.

  16. mantari says:

    @jwissick: As a customer, I complained about Walgreens to Consumerist. Their pharmacy is overworked and makes too many errors and delays. In fact, I even provided a public document from the union which represents the phramacists, which says they are overloaded.

    I like Walgreens, but I’m going to have to switch to a pharmacy that can handle their customer load adequately.

  17. FilmAddict says:

    Sorry for the really long comment – I’ll start by saying in Brooklyn the Park Slope Rite Aid is absolutely useless. Their inability to properly fill any prescription has happily led me to the local non-chain pharmacy where the pharmacist knows my name and is happy to answer all my questions (Palma Chemists for anyone in the slope looking for a pharmacy).

    Ok, here goes: I know everyone loves Target but they still haven’t established an acceptable corporate policy on their Pharmacist’s refusal to fill prescriptions for birth control and emergency contraception.

    From Planned Parenthood:

    “Target does not guarantee that all prescriptions for birth control, including emergency contraception, will be filled in-store, without discrimination or delay.

    On September 30, 2005, a Target pharmacist in Fenton, Missouri, refused to fill a woman’s prescription for emergency contraception (EC). Prior to this incident, Target ignored three letters sent by Planned Parenthood in an attempt to determine its pharmacist refusal policy. But once confronted with more than 95,000 letters from our supporters outraged by this refusal in Missouri, Target made its policy public. And the news wasn’t good.

    Target does not guarantee that all prescriptions for birth control, including emergency contraception, will be filled in-store, without discrimination or delay.

    Despite growing pressure from consumers, Target still refuses to change its policy to require pharmacists to fill prescriptions in-store, without delay. What’s worse, it has attacked Planned Parenthood instead of dealing with the issue at hand – its discriminatory policy.

    We have spoken to representatives of Target multiple times. They are adamant: while they would like to ensure that every prescription is filled, they will not create a corporate policy requiring their pharmacies to ensure that prescriptions be filled in-store. Although Target says pharmacist refusals affect a very small percentage of its clients, we know it is not all right to make even one woman travel to another pharmacy to get her pills. This is discrimination. Just think, if this involves only a few incidents, how hard would it be for Target to create a policy that protects these few women? CVS and Kmart have managed to do it!”

    Note: Walmart also just changed it’s policy to:
    *ensure that customers receive their prescriptions or over-the-counter (OTC) products in-store, without discrimination (no harassment or lectures), without delay, without judgment or regard for the number of refills prescribed or, in the case of OTC products, requested
    *stock emergency contraception in every store in which one or more customers request the product
    *ensure timely access to out-of-stock medication by offering to order the medication or refer the customer to another pharmacy that stocks the medication
    *circulate and enforce these policy and procedures corporation-wide

    So really Target, if Walmart can do it, why can’t you?

  18. thejbs says:

    I’m another happy Target Pharmacy customer. I use the one at the Atlantic Mall in Brooklyn, and the people behind the counter are probably the most competent and intelligent employees in the whole complex.

    Quick refills, nice people, they know exactly where all the OTC stuff is. I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

  19. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    I agree. Target gets high marks. Duane Reade is really good at being really bad.

  20. ElizabethD says:

    CVS fan, here. Our local pharmacists are incredibly helpful and proactive. Also, there are so many CVS’s in most American cities, you can get refills almost anywhere. I found this out when I was on my way to Indianapolis (from New England) a few years ago, and realized I hadn’t packed my prescription meds. I called my hometown CVS while en route, they located the Indy CVS closest to my hotel, and my prescriptions were filled and ready when I got there. A big WHEW moment for me, and great service from CVS.

  21. FLConsumer says:

    How the hell did CVS & Walgreens get #2 & #3? I’ve never had what I’d consider a positive experience with either pharmacy, granted, I rarely need prescriptions filled, so my experiences are limited, but every single experience has been consistently bad, mainly either them screwing up the prescription or just taking absolutely forever to fill the prescription. When an ER Dr calls in a prescription, you’d hope they would have filled it after 5 hours… nope. Took them another 18 hours before it’d be ready.

    The best service I’ve had from a pharmacy has been from the Publix Supermarket pharmacy. VERY knowledgeable pharmacists, ENGLISH-speaking pharmacists at that, and quick to fill prescriptions, which is essential to me as the only time I’m taking a prescription drug is when I’m sick.

  22. jaysonjaz says:

    eross is correct. I am a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy and I hear horror stores from people that switched to us from chain stores… 3 hour waits.. rude pharmacists with a minimal grasp on english.. etc. etc.

    Independents normally will beat any chain store 9 times out of 10 on service, price, and overall experience.