HealthDay News — Independent pharmacies are expanding the scope of services they offer, partly to absorb lower reimbursements for dispensing prescription medications, according to the 2017 National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Digest.

The NCPA Digest provides data to describe the impact that community pharmacies have on individual patients and the communities they serve.

According to the report, in 2016, independent community pharmacy represented a marketplace of $79.8 billion, with 92% of sales derived from prescription drugs; net margins on prescription drugs remain low, and independent pharmacies are responding by expanding their operations to include patient care services and products, including 90% of pharmacies offering medication adherence programs.

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There was a decrease in the number of independent pharmacies, from 22,160 in 2015 to 22,041 in 2016. On average, in 2016, independent community pharmacy locations dispensed 59,746 prescriptions (equivalent to 191 per day), down from 60,493 in 2015. The decrease was partially due to mandatory mail order and preferred networks most commonly in Medicare Part D. Recent financial trends include a decrease in sales from 2015, a decrease in gross margin for the third consecutive year, and an increase in payroll expenses as a percentage of sales.

“Independent community pharmacies remain indispensable for patients, especially in underserved communities,” NCPA Chief Executive Officer B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, said in a statement.

The NCPA Digest was sponsored by Cardinal Health.

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Independent pharmacy today. NCPA. Accessed October 24, 2017.