5 Most Lucrative Retail Pharmacies in Rx Revenues

AUGUST 24, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor
Prescription revenues provide insight on the power of top retail pharmacy businesses. 

If you’re curious to know how the retail pharmacy giants stack up against one another on prescription sales, here are the top 5 pharmacy chains based on 2014 figures:

Retail Pharmacy Rx Revenues in 2014
CVS Health Around $48 billion in Rx revenues, $88.4 billion in pharmacy services revenue
Walgreens Around $49 billion
Express Scripts Around $38 billion 
Walmart Around $18.8 billion 
Rite Aid Around $18 billion


CVS Health

CVS Health calls itself the largest US pharmacy based on total prescription revenue.

According to its 2014 annual report, CVS Health made around $48 billion in Rx revenues. The report stated that last year’s prescription sales comprised 70.7% of the company’s $67.8 billion total retail revenue.

Additionally, CVS Health’s pharmacy services revenue, which includes mail-order service, totaled $88.4 billion in 2014.

CVS filled or managed 1.7 billion prescriptions and has more than 7800 retail drug stores in 44 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Brazil, according to the 2014 report.

In terms of reach, CVS estimates that it serves 5 million customers a day across its retail pharmacies.

The pharmacy giant also noted that it has had 11 consecutive years of dividend increases. CVS ranked No. 12 on the Fortune 500 list for 2014.

Walgreens

With $76.4 billion in sales at fiscal year-end August 2014, and prescription drugs accounting for 64.2% of sales, Walgreens’ prescription revenues are estimated around $49 billion. In 2013, prescriptions accounted for a slightly lower percentage (62.9%).

The estimated total prescriptions filled were 856 million in 2014, up from 821 million in 2013, according to a Walgreens fact sheet.

The company maintains that it accounted for 19% of the US retail prescription drug market in 2014, compared with 18.7% in 2013.

In 2014, Walgreens saw 184 new locations and 84 acquisitions, but also closed 176 stores. The total number of Walgreens locations was 8309, with a total employee count of 251,000.
On a daily basis, Walgreens estimates that its stores serve 6.2 million customers.

The company was No. 37 on the Fortune 500 list in 2014.

Express Scripts

David Whitrap, senior director of corporate communications for Express Scripts, told Pharmacy Times that the company does not segment its individual business units, but he pointed to a list created by Adam Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting and author of DrugChannels.com. On that list, Express Scripts was ranked third for 2014, with $38 billion in revenue from prescription sales.

Whitrap attributed Express Scripts’ success to 3 factors: convenience, affordability, and specialized care.

“Patients are able to receive 90-day supplies directly to their door, they can speak to an Express Scripts pharmacist 24/7/365 all from the privacy and comfort of their homes, and they can manage their prescriptions through our website and mobile app,” Whitrap said.

He also said patient co-payments are nearly 30% lower through home delivery compared with retail pharmacies, though he acknowledged that patients’ plans differed.

Lastly, Whitrap added that patients appreciate being able to talk to specialist pharmacists about specific disease states, and Express Scripts’ automated pharmacy dispenses prescriptions with >99.999% accuracy.

In 2014, Express Scripts was listed as No. 20 on the Fortune 500 list.

Walmart

Carla Roberts, manager of corporate communications for Walmart, told Pharmacy Times that the company does not break down its revenues to show how much money each segment contributed to its total sales.

However, Roberts said the Health and Wellness Center’s revenues were 11% of the total US sales for 2014, though she could not provide a figure for the total US sales in 2014.
Fein’s report estimates that Walmart’s prescription revenues were around $18.8 billion in 2014.

Paul Beahm, Health & Wellness Operations senior vice president for Walmart US, told Pharmacy Times what he thought contributed to Walmart’s success. 

“Walmart is a leader in health and wellness because of our focus on our customers,” Beahm said. “…Customers count on Walmart pharmacies because they know we strive to make health care more affordable and accessible. Our $4 prescriptions changed the industry, and we continue to innovate and earn customer trust with our everyday low prices, broad assortment, and services.”

According to Walmart’s corporate financial fact sheet, the company has a global customer community of more than 260 million customers at its retail units in 28 countries.

Walmart nabbed the No. 1 spot on the 2014 Fortune 500 list.

Rite Aid

With 2014 revenues totaling $26.5 billion and prescription sales accounting for 68.1% of total drugstore sales, prescription revenue estimates for Rite Aid hover around $18 billion.
The number of prescriptions filled by Rite Aid pharmacies increased 3.5% from 2013, according to a company press release.

There were also 4587 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia as of March 1, 2014.

Rite Aid held the 118th slot in the Fortune 500 list in 2014.


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