Little is known about pharmacy owners' commitment to public health and health policy goals in the strategic planning of their business. The aim of this study was to explore factors associated with health service orientation and active product marketing orientation of Finnish community pharmacy owners.
A national cross-sectional e-mail survey was sent to private community pharmacy owners in Finland (n = 581) in 2013. Based on the structured, Likert-type survey instrument, two sum scales measuring strategic orientation towards health service provision (13 items, score range 0-26) and active product marketing (8 items, score range 0-16) were developed (Cronbach's Alpha 0.836 and 0.699, respectively). Characteristics of the pharmacy owners and their pharmacy business as well as actual service provision were used as background variables.
Concerning health service orientation, 50% of the respondents received at least 20 points out of the maximum 26 points (score range: 0-26). For active product marketing orientation, 75% of the pharmacy owners had at least 14 points and 44% received full 16 points (score range: 0-16). The score distribution was skewed towards strong health service orientation, but the actual service score was heavily skewed towards few services or no services. Two-thirds of the pharmacy owners reported having available 2 or less services. The health service orientation was not influenced by any of the background variables used, but three of them influenced active product marketing orientation, namely business location, annual prescription volume and belonging to a marketing chain of individual community pharmacies.
Large pharmacies located close to rivals and belonging to marketing chains of individual community pharmacies differentiated as those having a high product marketing orientation. The health service orientation was not influenced by any of the explanatory variables used in this study. The discrepancy between high health service orientation scores and low actual service provision scores needs further investigation. The contradiction that exists between pharmaceutical policy goals and the generation of income of pharmacies should also be examined as a contributing factor in this respect.