In 2019, the independent community pharmacy industry represented 35% of all retail pharmacies in the United States with a $73.7 billion marketplace, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA)’s recently released 2020 NCPA Digest.

The NCPA Digest is released to provide an annual overview of the independent community pharmacy industry. Additionally, it details the wide variety of services offered by independent community pharmacies.

“The NCPA Digest report details the many indispensable services patients are able to access at their neighborhood pharmacies, and also some of the pressures they face that can make it difficult to keep their doors open,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, in a press release. “The opportunities and challenges alike have been magnified by the coronavirus pandemic, but as we look to the development of vaccines and overcoming the virus, the importance of community pharmacy has never been clearer.”

The services offered by independent community pharmacies in 2019 were outlined in the NCPA Digest this year. The data showed that 79% of independent community pharmacies offer medication synchronization services; 79% offer medication therapy management; 77% provide flu immunizations; 73% provide non-flu immunizations; 54% perform blood pressure monitoring; and 53% provide durable medical goods.

Additionally, the NCPA Digest found that independent community pharmacies play a major role in philanthropic endeavors within their communities. In 2019, 58% of all independent community pharmacy owners donated to at least 5 community-based organizations, while 50% of pharmacies also donated more than $3000 per year in support of local organizations.

Data from the NCPA Digest also detailed that the number of independent pharmacies continues to decline in the country, as the number has fallen to 21,683 stores in 2019.

Some other highlights from the NCPA Digest covering the 2019 marketplace includes:
 
  • Eighty-five percent of independent community pharmacies identified their primary pharmacy operation as retail pharmacy, while 8% identified primarily as an apothecary.
  • The generic dispense rate increased to 86% in 2019 from 80% in 2014.
  • Seventy-seven percent of community pharmacies provide services to areas with a population of 50,000 or fewer people.
  • There is an independent community pharmacy that immunizes in 66% of rural zip codes and 52% of medically underserved zip codes.
  • Average prescription volume per store dropped by more than 1000 prescriptions from 2018.
  • Fifty-five percent of total prescriptions were covered by the Medicare Part D and Medicaid programs.
  • The digest showed that 2621 pharmacies participate in the CPESN USA national network of clinically integrated pharmacies, with more than 70 national or local network contracts currently either signed or active.
  • The top 4 point-of-care services provided by independent community pharmacies were found to be influenza (22%), rapid strep (19%), cholesterol screening (12%), and A1C (9%).

“Whether during times of crisis or calm, independent pharmacies are the safety nets protecting their communities, particularly those situated in rural and underserved areas,” Hoey said in the release. “Our goal of recognizing the value community pharmacists provide is coming into view, as our push to repair the broken pharmacy payment model continues full steam ahead. We’re fighting to accomplish this goal, with NCPA Digest data on hand and the knowledge that successful pharmacies mean healthier, happier lives for patients.”

REFERENCE
NCPA Releases 2020 Digest Report. Alexandria, VA: National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA); October 19, 2020. ncpa.org/newsroom/news-releases/2020/10/19/ncpa-releases-2020-digest-report#:~:text=The%202020%20NCPA%20Digest%20identifies,non%2Dflu%20immunizations%3B%2054%20percent. Accessed October 19, 2020.