Rx sales will exceed $100 billion

November 1, 1998
Pharmaceutical Representative

Retail sales of prescription drugs will exceed $100 billion this year, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Ronald L. Ziegler, president and CEO of the association, made the history-making announcement at the 41st NACDS Pharmacy Conference & Managed Care Forum in San Diego in August.

Retail sales of prescription drugs will exceed $100 billion this year, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Ronald L. Ziegler, president and CEO of the association, made the history-making announcement at the 41st NACDS Pharmacy Conference & Managed Care Forum in San Diego in August.

By the end of 1998, Ziegler said, sales of prescription products will have reached $102.5 billion, an increase of more than 15% over last year. In 1997, sales reached $89 billion. That accounts for 2.8 billion dispensed prescriptions, which is an increase of 6% from the 2.6 billion prescriptions dispensed in 1997.

Heavy managed care penetration has certainly contributed to the rise in prescription volume, as have an aging population, an increase in advertising and faster drug approval times. In recent years, managed care organizations have become more amenable to covering plan members' prescription drug costs because they believe it is ultimately less expensive therapy than more invasive procedures.

Chain community pharmacies, such as traditional chain drug stores, mass merchant chain pharmacies and supermarket chain pharmacies, will account for 61% of $102.5 billion in sales, dispensing more than 60% of the total amount of prescriptions.

NACDS predicted that the growth in prescriptions dispensed at community pharmacies will continue, and could reach a staggering 4 billion in the year 2005. For comparison, the number of retail prescriptions dispensed in 1992 was just over 2 billion. PR