Your most (and least) favorite drug stores or pharmacies

These days we have a myriad of choices when it comes to where we do our "drug store business." We can go to a stand-alone store of a national chain, a regional store, a grocery store, a big-box retailer or even a warehouse club.

With so many choices, consumers can stand to be picky. So, we wanted to know: Which drug stores or pharmacies have people singing their praises? And which make them grumble and groan?

To find out, we asked our readers to tell us which drug stores they like or dislike most -- and why. What we found out was quite interesting, with one pharmacy clearly rising above all others as a consumer favorite.


IT'S A TOSS UP FOR NATIONAL STAND-ALONE CHAINS


With more than 7,000 stores in over 43 states, and more than 1 billion prescriptions filled or managed annually, we figured CVS might have its fair share of both lovers and haters. And we were right. We ran into the same situation with Walgreens and to some extent, Rite Aid, as well. There appears to be a great deal of inconsistency among each chain's various locations -- especially with regard to wait times, in-stock medications and customer service.

Since we received just as many favorable reader submissions for these stores as we did unfavorable, we were hard pressed to put them in either the least favorite OR most favorite column. So, we had to call it a draw.

However, to give you a dose of what readers had to say about their experiences with these major drug stores, we share these sample comments from both sides of the aisle:

THE GOOD: A THUMBS UP

CVS
Reader Haybetsy says: "CVS Pharmacy and its pharmacists always have gone out of their way to be helpful and informative with all of our prescriptions. We are a family of five and have used CVS exclusively for the past 9 years and I can only speak high praise of CVS ... as they go above & beyond what any other pharmacy has ever done and they do it with kindness & concern. When out of state, my husband forgot one of his medications and the CVS pharmacist in Ocean City, N.J. was able to pull up his prescriptions and fill the order for just 2 pills until we were back home in Pennsylvania."

Walgreens
Reader mill1962dr says: "Walgreens is very helpful from the time I walk in the door. Also, anytime day or night I call for advice on drugs, the are so very kind. Their customer service is the greatest."

Rite Aid
Reader CROUSER304 says: "I have found no better pharmacy than Rite Aid. They are the most courteous, friendly and caring. They watch for interaction when you take several different meds. They will also fill a prescription at any store if you are traveling and they will tell you about generic substitution to save you money, if it is true to the dosage. And to [be able to] shop for other needs while waiting is great. The prescription is always ready before I am."


THE BAD: A THUMBS DOWN

CVS

Reader KAMKMom says: "Our CVS is often short of the [medications] we get at the same time every month and we have to settle for a few pills to last a day or two until they get their order, which means two trips for us. You would think they could figure out how many pills to order based on their customer histories and save us the inconvenience. And we usually have to wait in a long line to find out they do not have what we need. Their clerks are not very friendly, either."

Walgreens
Reader Drk413 says: "... The pharmacies always seem to be busy, so I would generally drop off a prescription and ask when it might be done. They would give me a completion time and invariably when I returned, the prescription still was not filled. This happened time after time. My last visit to their pharmacy came when I came down ill with pneumonia. I dropped off a prescription in the morning and was told it would be done in a couple hours. I was too tired to go back and pick it up, so my wife stopped on her way home after work at 5PM. Still had not been filled. That was it for me. I haven't been back since and that was more than a year ago."

Rite Aid
Reader HADCmj says: "They told me my prescription was in stock and would be ready in 1 hour. I went back in 3 hours and it had not been filled. I waited in line almost an hour to hear that. They promised it would be ready the next day. When I went the next day, they had lost my original prescription. Eventually, they found the written prescription and I asked them to give it to me and took it to Target. It was filled and ready for pick up in 20 minutes."


YOUR MOST FAVORITE DRUG STORE OR PHARMACY

Target
It's all good for Target pharmacy customers. Not only were we inundated with positive feedback from customers of the big box retailer, but unlike the stand-alone drug stores or its other competitors, we heard nary a peep from any unsatisfied shoppers.



Here are some of the comments that won Target the title of favorite drug store or pharmacy in our survey of reader submissions:

Reader Teds1000 says: "I have been going to Target for all my drug needs for 12 years. Everything has been perfect every time. The employees always take the time to show me my drugs, even the ones I have taken for years. [They] always ask if I have any questions. Their prices are the best around ... and I can get a Starbucks and do some shopping while I pick up my prescriptions! Perfect! "

Reader Gpamaxwell says: "My favorite drug store is Target. The prices are low, the service is excellent and they offer auto-refill services. We have shopped at our local Target for 5 years now and everybody greets us and treats us like family. When a prescription is dropped off, they call us at home when it is ready to be picked up. They also color-code the bottle with different colored neck rings so different members of the family don't get their medications mixed up. If a particular prescription has exhausted all of it's refills, they will contact the doctor's office for OK and if you are completely out they will give you enough pills to carry you over until the doctor sends his approval."

Reader RP1952 says: "The Target Pharmacy chain is the best out there. Their pharmacists and customer service people are very educated and care about their customers. They constantly monitor your [existing] meds with new ones that you bring in and ask about over the counter and supplements that you currently use. They also recommend less expensive or generic medication for the scripts you bring in and offer to call your doctor to find out if that substitution can be made. Target's $4.00 drug list is more extensive than any other pharmacy that I have researched. "


YOUR LEAST FAVORITE DRUG STORE OR PHARMACY

Walmart
On the other hand, while Walmart customers were eager to voice their gripes and complaints about the mega-mart's pharmacy, there was hardly a compliment to be found. This earned Walmart the dubious title of least favorite drug store or pharmacy in our reader survey.



Here are some of the frustrations that our readers shared:

Reader Pammymae1429 says: "Several of the employees at this Walmart [in San Leandro, Calif.] have an opinion that they are doing you a favor by waiting on you. Several of them talk to you as if you are beneath them. I will never go back and use them."

Reader Lchickerell says: "I have never seen a pharmacy that takes an hour lunch with all the employees. They literally close the whole pharmacy, so that everyone takes lunch together. Thus leaving no one to let you pick up your prescriptions. It's ridiculous, especially if you only have a limited time to pick up prescription. They actually post a small sign telling you that the pharmacy will be closed for the period of time during their lunch. You just stand there while they lower the chains to close the pharmacy. They are so inconsiderate of your time. I will not use Walmart for my pharmacy ever again."

Reader Ukmum4 says: "I hate the Walmart pharmacy in Taos, N.M. They are rude and unhelpful. The whole store is dirty, not stocked well and have, for the most part, unhelpful employees. My advice is to avoid this store at all costs."


HONORABLE MENTIONS


Publix Pharmacy
Reader SCook112793 says: "I love Publix pharmacies because they are prompt, courteous, and efficient; the pharmacists take the time to answer questions and to act as a liaison with physicians when necessary. Their pharmacists are staunch advocates for their patients. You feel like a valued customer in the pharmacies at Publix."

Duane Reade
Reader r0ckbunny says: "Duane Reade has pretty much everything you'd except in a pharmacy in stock, and the actual pharmacy section is really quick. The longest I had to wait for a prescription is 15 minutes and the lines always move quickly. I visit Duane Reade at least once a week for deodorant and other stuff, so I'd consider myself a frequent user."


DISHONORABLE MENTION

Osco Drugs
Reader Alm751 says: " ... Osco is always understaffed and it can take up to 20 minutes to pick up a prescription that was filled days ago ..."


Reader Ncje2000 says: "I hate Osco Drugs! Every time I go to fill a script I have to come back. They never have it in stock!"

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Don't Agree? Tell us which drug store or pharmacy is your most or least favorite.

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