Independent Pharmacies Show Rising Sales and Profit Margins

Author: Ken Rankin

Encouraging new survey results scheduled to be released at the National Community Pharmacists Association's (NCPA's) annual convention in October are likely to provide clear evidence that independent pharmacy is gaining ground in the prescription drug marketplace.

The new 2004 NCPA-Pfizer Digest results will show that prescription drug sales at the nation's independent pharmacies climbed by 10% last year to an average of $2.8 million per store. At the same time, total sales in the average independent pharmacy jumped 12% to $3.2 million.

Thanks to that sales growth, independent community pharmacies posed higher gross margins for the second straight year in 2003, climbing from 23.5% to 23.8%. The new figures will also show improvement in net profit, from an average of 3.8% last year to 3.9% in 2003.

The Digest results will also show changes in the structure of independent pharmacy, as well as in the services offered by the nation's independents.

According to the new findings, nearly 1 in 4 independent pharmacists today owns more than 1 pharmacy, and 85% of all independents now offer services such as prescription delivery, charge accounts, and nutrition aids.

The average payroll at independent community pharmacies is also on the increase. The new Digest results will show that the typical independent today employs 2.6 full-time equivalent (FTE) pharmacists and 3.4 FTE technicians.

Nationwide, independent pharmacies employ nearly a quarter million FTE employees and contribute nearly $10 billion in employee wages and taxes to their local economies.