It’s that time of year again! The independent pharmacy numbers are in, and the bottom line is the marketplace is looking good.
All or most businesses go through cycles that involve ups and downs. Fluctuations for businesses include cycles of expansions and contractions, followed by more expansions and contractions. The independent pharmacy marketplace is similar and thus experiences fluctuations in the number of businesses over time. Over the last few years, I’ve talked about how the number of independent pharmacies in the market changes each year. The ebb and flow in the number of stores is normal, just like in the business cycle, and demonstrates a healthy and stable marketplace.
RESEARCH SHOWS US
Over the last five years (2017-2022), the number of independent pharmacies increased by 1.2% in aggregate.
The total number of independent pharmacies in 2022 is 1,719 more than it was in 2017.
If I look back over the last decade at the number of independent pharmacies, I see two separate periods of trend. In the beginning half of this last decade (2012-2016), the number of independent pharmacies steadily rose by 7.5%. Then in the latter half of the decade that trend stabilized. Over the last five years (2017-2022), the marketplace for independent pharmacies has experienced small fluctuations from year-to-year (a 1.2% increase in aggregate), sometimes gaining in a year and sometimes losing, but no more than 500 stores nationwide either way each year. These recent fluctuations in the overall number of stores have not dramatically shifted the independent pharmacy market – out of a total 23,254 independent pharmacies and 37,664 total retail pharmacies in the United States in 2022, the total number of independent pharmacies in 2022 is 1,719 more than it was in 2017.
PCMA gets our data from the gold standard of pharmacy data, the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP). The NCPDP is a trusted source for data on pharmacies and has a transparent methodology and clear communication. Along with providing pharmacy count data, the NCPDP also develops and promotes healthcare industry standards in the drug supply chain, improving patient safety and health outcomes. PCMA has long relied on this dataset in its independent pharmacy research, ensuring that all reports are reliable and credible. Our data comes from a reliable source, and our methodology is public, transparent, and consistent over time; altogether, our pharmacy counts are credible. Other datasets that lack these features should be viewed skeptically. What do they have to hide?
Take a look at our new The Independent Pharmacy Marketplace is Stable web page. It contains all the information you need on the current state of independent pharmacies, including our dataset methodology, and more information on the NCPDP.