Independent Pharmacy Rx Sales and Profits Are Up

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

The average independent communitypharmacy posted $3.24 million insales last year. That figure representeda solid 14% increase over 2002 levels,according to the 2004 NCPA-PfizerDigest.

The 2003 gain was totally attributableto rising prescription drug salesamong independents, the NationalCommunity Pharmacists Association(NCPA) noted. On a per-store basis, Rxdrug dollar volume climbed to a recordaverage of $2.9 million, but real dollarnonprescription sales remained constant,according to the association.

Independent pharmacy also postedstronger profits to accompany thoserising sales. Gross margins increased to24% of total store sales in 2003—a totalof $685,915 at the average pharmacy—and pretax net profits also were up.

"In spite of market practices byPBMs [pharmacy benefit managers]that disadvantage community pharmacies,median net profits before taxeswere $114,319, representing 4% ofsales," according to NCPA. "This was aslight increase from last year's before taxnet profit of 3.8% of sales," and "isdue in part to the customization ofpharmacist services into niche marketssuch as immunizations, health screenings,and diabetes care centers."

Researchers for the Digest foundthat blood pressure monitoring is themost frequently offered specialty service,noting that it was available at59% of the independent pharmaciessurveyed. Diabetes education wasoffered by 48% and asthma educationby 28% of pharmacies, whereas nearly1 in 4 community pharmacies offeredimmunizations to their patients,according to NCPA.

These findings demonstrate that"independents are developing patientcare niches and are seeking out newtechnologies that allow them to providebetter patient care, while at thesame time improving efficiency andthe bottom line," said NCPA PresidentSharlea Leatherwood, RPh.