NACDS' Industry Profile reports on retail pharmacy numbers

ALEXANDRIA, Va. U.S. retail pharmacists dispensed more than 3.4 billion prescriptions in 2006, according to the newly released 10th edition of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation 2007 Chain Pharmacy Industry Profile, and nearly three of every four of those scripts came from a chain drug, supermarket or mass merchandise pharmacy.

The nation’s 56,000 retail chain pharmacies were responsible for filling 2.4 billion prescriptions, the report found, or 72 percent of the total retail script count. In a statement released today, NACDS also revealed that the pharmacy industry generated more than $716 billion in sales last year.

Researchers who compiled the survey also reported that the average person fills five written prescriptions every year. The average distance from any residence to a pharmacy is 2.36 miles, “indicating that community pharmacy is most convenient among the health care providers closest to the American people,” NACDS noted.

The Digest also turned up evidence of the pharmacist’s continuing evolution to a larger, more inclusive role in the patient’s total health care needs. “Integrity ratings revealed that pharmacists are the second most highly regarded health care professionals at 73 percent, the highest rating for pharmacists in 25 years,” the report stated.

The latest survey also found resilience in front-end merchandising among traditional drug stores—with strong sales in grocery categories such as bottled water, tea and fresh produce [see separate story].

The guide contains extensive analysis of current trends in the chain pharmacy industry, including data on financial performance and operational characteristics. Produced by the NACDS Foundation in partnership with the NACDS Economics Department, the Profile was supported by a grant from NACDS along with partnering companies including Ortho-McNeil Janssen Pharmaceutical Services, Ortho Biotech Products, L.P., and Centocor, Inc.

“The data will foster a greater understanding of how community pharmacy contributes to the public good, and the enhanced role it can play in health care in the future,” said NACDS Foundation Phil Schneider.