Independents' Rx sales rose last year, study finds

June 6, 2005

Prescription drugs accounted for 92% of all sales rung up by independent pharmacies last year, according to preliminary data from the 2005 NCPA-Pfizer Digest. The report is an annual snapshot of the sector's operational landscape.

Prescription drugs accounted for 92% of all sales rung up by independent pharmacies last year, according to preliminary data from the 2005 NCPA-Pfizer Digest. The report is an annual snapshot of the sector's operational landscape.

Prescription sales rose about 9%, for an average of $3.18 million, according to early returns for the Digest, published by the National Community Pharmacists Association and underwritten by an unrestricted grant from Pfizer Inc. Total sales rose 6%, and overall income was pegged at $3.46 million.

The average independent's gross margins dropped to about 22%, down 2% from 2003. Independents were apparently able to squeeze out more operating efficiencies to offset lower gross margins and hold their pretax net profits at 4%.

Preliminary Digest data also found that:

The report also found that independent pharmacies are still growing. From 2003 to 2004, the number of independent pharmacies increased slightly, to 24,345, and the average sales per pharmacy went up 6%, to $3.46 million. In addition, independent pharmacists dispensed 1.4 billion prescriptions, accounting for 42% and the largest share of the retail Rx market. Some 42% of all the nation's community pharmacies are independents.

The final results of the Digest will be released in October at NCPA's annual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.