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This Is the Least Reliable U.S. Drug Store in 2021, According to Consumers

Consumers advise getting your prescriptions and personal care products somewhere else.

Whether it's to pick up an important prescription or to replenish some personal care and hygiene products in a pinch, a reliable drug store you know you can count on is essential. You need the peace of mind of knowing you can get what you need, when you need it. While there are a variety of big name pharmacy brands to choose from, from Walgreens to Walmart, not all of them are equally dependable. So, to help you avoid further headaches when you go to get your migraine meds, Best Life consulted the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Retail and Consumer Shipping Report to determine the least reliable drug store in the U.S.

For the ACSI Retail and Consumer Shipping Report 2020-2021, the researchers conducted interviews with 70,767 customers who were chosen at random and contacted via email between Jan. 13 and Dec. 27, 2020. Respondents were asked to evaluate their recent experiences with the largest retailers in the U.S., from department stores to supermarkets to gas stations to drug stores. The survey data was used to estimate customer satisfaction based on expectations, perceptions of quality, and perceptions of value, and then each chain was scored on a 100-point scale. For this ranking, Best Life pulled the stores from the "health and personal care" section of the report to determine the least reliable drug store in the U.S. Read on to find out what it is.

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exterior of a CVS Store in Columbus, Ohio

ACSI score (out of 100): 77

Maintaining an ACSI score of 77, the same rating it earned the year prior, CVS was the highest scoring drug store on this list. That said, plenty of customers have complaints about their experiences shopping at the chain.

"My insurance requires me to get my prescriptions from CVS. I'm seriously considering getting different insurance because it's always an ordeal," a frustrated customer wrote on ConsumerAffairs. "I wait 30-60 minutes in an angry line while one tech moves at a glacial pace. I've tried repeatedly to get through to a pharmacist on the phone but had to give up after 45 minutes or more on hold. It's always an exercise in frustration."


Kroger pharmacy exterior

ACSI score (out of 100): 76

Kroger's ACSI score dropped two points from the year prior. And while it still earned the second highest score on this list, not all customers are satisfied with their experience at the pharmacy.

"I transferred my prescriptions to Kroger pharmacy after my pharmacy closed," a verified reviewer recently wrote on ConsumerAffairs. "From the very first encounter with their staff, I found them rude, impatient, and condescending."

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walgreens store exterior in suburban or rural location
Shutterstock/Jonathan Weiss

ACSI score (out of 100): 74

It may be one of the most well-known names in the drug store chain industry, but Walgreens only scored a 74 on the most recent ACSI report, one point lower than it did the year prior.

"I just had to switch to another pharmacy because my prescription wasn't ready after I was told earlier that it was," a frustrated verified reviewer wrote on ConsumerAffairs after learning their prescription medication wouldn't be available for two months. "I'm not supposed to go one week without them, let alone two months. I find this unacceptable and it shows that the well-being of monthly customers [isn't] being taken care of. Use at your own risk."



ACSI score (out of 100): 73

Shoppers turn to Walmart for just about everything, including health and beauty products and prescription medication. However, picking up the latter isn't always the smoothest process, it seems.

"My insurance only reimbursed specialty drugs through them, so I had to fill here for about two years. Every month you have to call in and speak to a rep who transfers you to a pharmacist who second guesses the doctor's prescription," one Walmart pharmacy customer wrote on ConsumerAffairs. "Sometimes you have to get your prescription resent because they do not keep good records of what happened in [the] months prior."

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A store front sign of the grocery store Albertsons
David Tonelson / Shutterstock

ACSI score (out of 100): 72

Albertsons tied for the lowest ACSI score of all the drug stores on this list. Among consumer complaints about the chain are the store's high prices and inattentive staff.

"I avoid this store whenever possible," wrote one dissatisfied customer in a review on Sitejabber. "Checkers [talk] amongst themselves, [are] not the least bit interested in the long lines, and truly don't care. Prices are about 30 percent higher than their competition. I can't find half the items I need, but they are available elsewhere."

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Rite Aid

rite aid

ACSI score (out of 100): 72

Rite Aid shares the honor of lowest ACSI score on this list with Albertsons. The two least trusted drug store chains also have certain problems in common, according to consumers—especially when it comes to their employees.

"Staff is usually somewhat friendly but uninterested and unengaged," a Rite Aid customer wrote on ConsumerAffairs. "They just don't care. It's best not to need anyone who works there unless it's a question about where something is."

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