Healthy Growth for Independents in '04

JULY 01, 2005
Ken Rankin

The demand for prescription drugs at America's independent community pharmacies is on the rise. Last year, the typical independent dispensed more than 59,000 Rxs—an average of 190 per day, according to newly released results from the 2005 Pfizer Digest.

Total dollar sales among the nation's 34,345 independent pharmacies climbed by a solid 6% to an average of $3.46 million per store in 2004. Prescription sales increased at an even faster 9% clip last year, however, accounting for 92% of the average store's total dollar sales.

The Digest found that gross margins at independent pharmacies slipped from 24% in 2003 to 22.2% last year. Yet, net pretax profit held steady at 4% of sales.

The new Pfizer study also suggests that independent pharmacies are offering patients a wide range of services, including prescription delivery (85% of the pharmacies surveyed); nutrition services (84%); patient charge accounts (83%); and compounding (73%).