NCPA Executive Update

NCPA Executive Update delivers insights on legislative, regulatory, policy, and industry developments from NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA, to NCPA members and pharmacy leaders every Friday.

Latest Info on Independents | NCPA Executive Update | October 28, 2016

by NCPA | Oct 28, 2016

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

Any day now, NCPA owner/managers should receive their copy of the 2016 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health. It is included with the November issue of America's Pharmacist®. The Digest, which has been around since 1932, contains ample data that demonstrates the breadth and depth of services and benefits independent pharmacies provide to their patients and their communities.

Here are some of the services provided by full-line pharmacies, of which 84% of the Digest survey respondents said they were:

  • Medication therapy management-83%

  • Medication adherence/synchronization-83%

  • Immunizations-68%

  • Home/work site delivery-65%

  • Online refills-60%

  • Blood pressure monitoring-59%

  • Pet medications-41%

  • Travel vaccinations-23%

The medication synchronization number is especially eye-popping as that has gone from virtually zero to 83% in just five years. There is some evidence to show that the more active the pharmacy is in med sync, the more successful their pharmacy. By the way, there's a new med sync pharmacy locator available for patients. Make sure new patients can find you by listing your pharmacy.

But that's not all, as the late night TV commercials say. Regarding community involvement, more than two-thirds of owners provide monetary support to at least five community organizations. That is HUGE!

The breakdown is even more impressive: 41% contribute to 10 or more community organizations and another 26% contribute to between five and nine organizations.

The pharmacy a consumer chooses does make a difference to their community. The videos featuring pharmacy owners Danny Cottrell and Theresa Tolle are great examples of this.

As mentioned above, the Digest has been reporting on the industry trends for over 80 years. Keep in mind the figures are averages and take into account highs and lows. For example, pre-tax gross profit margins have held relatively stable (though down again this year) as owners have squeezed more efficiencies out of their operations.

That's not true for pre-tax net operating income, which has slid even lower the last few years. (Digest financials are available to all pharmacies that completed the financial Digest survey.)

The Digest also contains many other valuable statistics, some of which might lead you to think "I'm glad I'm not alone" or "I should try that."

Social media? Facebook is used by 87% of community pharmacies and 62% offer a mobile app. Workflow technology? Some 84% use point-of-sale systems and 51% use automated dispensing counters. Pharmacy technicians? The average is 3.2 among the 9.4 full-time equivalent employees including a working owner.

And, I'd like to call particular attention an exciting growth area on page 14 and Figure 6—Emerging Models: Enhanced Services Pharmacies. There was a CE session on this topic at our just-concluded Annual Convention, and I mentioned enhanced services networks in my state of the association speech there, too.

It's important not to be misled by the term "enhanced services." Consider an average pharmacy as one that limits its services to "count, lick, stick, and pour" (CLSP) prescriptions. Now, consider enhanced services as everything above and beyond CLSP. With that in mind, what are the enhanced services that your pharmacy provides to offer a payer pain point relief?

Local networks of pharmacies offering these enhanced services are forming. NCPA is supporting these efforts. Visit or email to find out what may be in the works in your area and how you can participate.

Doug Hoey