Independent Pharmacy Today

Health care providers

As medication experts, independent community pharmacists provide counsel on the treatment of a variety of health related concerns and reduce overall costs by helping to ensure that patients consistently take their medications and by referring them to generic treatment options when appropriate.

Independent pharmacies provide a variety of niche services, often unavailable elsewhere, to meet specific health needs. The top services offered include same-day home delivery; patient charge accounts; immunizations; compounding; and durable medical goods. In addition, these pharmacies are often located in underserved rural and inner city areas where access to care is a challenge.

There are an estimated 22,478 small business community pharmacies. Their total number has not kept pace with the U.S. population or the number of prescriptions, but does compare similarly to the 24,861 independent community pharmacies estimated in 2000. Approximately 1,800 rural independent pharmacies serve as the only pharmacy provider in their community, with the next closest pharmacy many miles away.

Consumer preference

Consumers credit independent community pharmacies with providing sterling customer service. Patient surveys conducted by J.D. Power, Consumer Reports and others. Patients are a name, even family, at these pharmacies—not a number.

Independent pharmacies are also consistently price competitive for prescription drugs, according to surveys conducted by media outlets, including Consumer Reports, PBS "Newshour", WKBN-TV and KMOV-TV.

Economic impact

Independent pharmacies employ approximately 314,000 people on a full or part-time basis.

About one-third of all retail prescriptions are filled at these local small businesses.

Charitable contributions

Independent pharmacies make an estimated $65 million contribution annually to local communities and charities, in addition to their volunteer work.

63 percent of independent pharmacy owners provide monetary support to five or more community organizations.


To learn about the challenges facing independent community pharmacies today and solutions to address them, please visit our Advocacy web page.