Number of independent pharmacies increases

September 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

In 2000, the number of independent pharmacies grew by more than 200, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association, Alexandria, VA. Based on NCPA's definition of an independent pharmacy - single-store independent pharmacies, independent chains, pharmacy franchises and pharmacist-owned supermarket pharmacies - independent pharmacies now number 24,841, or 45% of the nation's total market of 55,011 pharmacies.

In 2000, the number of independent pharmacies grew by more than 200, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association, Alexandria, VA. Based on NCPA's definition of an independent pharmacy - single-store independent pharmacies, independent chains, pharmacy franchises and pharmacist-owned supermarket pharmacies - independent pharmacies now number 24,841, or 45% of the nation's total market of 55,011 pharmacies.

Double-digit growth

Independent pharmacies experienced double-digit overall sales growth in 2000, increasing 18% over the previous year to reach an average of $2.33 million per pharmacy, according to the preliminary data. Prescription sales revenues also grew, accounting for 83% ($1.932 million) of total average sales - also representing an 18% increase from the previous year.

The number of prescriptions dispensed annually by the average independent pharmacy grew to 50,711 - a 6.9% increase, or 3,283 prescriptions per pharmacy surveyed. Overall, independents dispensed 1.26 billion prescriptions in 2000, 44% of the total of 2.84 billion retail prescriptions dispensed in the United States.

Gross margins continued to decline as a percentage of sales from 24% in 1999 to 23.4% in 2000. In dollars, gross margin increased by 15% to $545,482 - the highest ever recorded in the survey.

"The preliminary results of the [survey] firmly support our assertion that independent pharmacy is back," commented NCPA President John Carson. "Independent pharmacies continue to experience nearly record growth in total sales, in terms of dollars and volume. Although margins remain tight, we see these as key indicators of the vitality of today's independent pharmacy." PR