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NCPA Releases 2018 Digest

by NCPA | Oct 08, 2018
Annual benchmarking report is a compendium of information on community pharmacy

BOSTON, Mass. (Oct. 8, 2018) — The 2018 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health, was released today at the National Community Pharmacists Association's Annual Convention in Boston, Mass. For more than 80 years, the annual NCPA Digest has served as an important barometer for independent community pharmacy owners to quantifiably measure themselves against their peers and their competitors.

"As evidenced in the latest NCPA Digest, independent community pharmacies continue to represent an indispensable portion of pharmacies in the United States and are a valued piece of the health care puzzle, especially for patients in underserved communities," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA. "It's a credit to independent pharmacists' hands-on role in patient care, the quality of their services, and their ongoing civic, social, and economic engagement in their communities."

The 2018 NCPA Digest found independent community pharmacies offer a variety of services: 79 percent offer medication therapy management; 70 percent provide immunizations; 57 percent perform blood pressure monitoring; and 53 percent furnish durable medical goods. From a philanthropic standpoint, 68 percent of all independent community pharmacy owners donated to at least five local organizations in 2017.

Highlights from the NCPA Digest covering the 2017 independent community pharmacy marketplace include:

  • The estimated number of independent community pharmacies is 21,909, down slightly from last year's total of 22,041.

  • Community pharmacies represent 35 percent of the retail pharmacy marketplace.

  • Seventy-five percent of community pharmacies serve population areas of 50,000 or fewer.

  • Prescription volume decreased from 59,746 in 2016 to 59,137 (190 per day) in 2017.

  • Generic drugs comprise 85 percent of all prescriptions dispensed.

  • Fifty-three percent of total prescriptions are covered by the Medicare Part D and Medicaid programs.

  • Eighty-eight percent of community pharmacies are offering some type of medication adherence program.

  • Seventy-one percent of independent pharmacies offer same-day delivery service.

  • Thirty-three percent had collaborative drug therapy agreements.

  • Forty-four percent of independent community pharmacies dispense specialty medications, with the top disease state specialty medications dispensed including rheumatoid arthritis (87 percent), HIV (58 percent), and multiple sclerosis (46 percent).

  • Sixty-eight percent of independent pharmacy owners provide monetary support to five or more community organizations, including 50 percent of all independent pharmacies that provide more than $4,000 to these organizations annually.

NCPA has produced a short video snapshot of key findings in the 2018 Digest.


About NCPA

Founded in 1898, the National Community Pharmacists Association is the voice for the community pharmacist, representing 22,000 pharmacies that employ 250,000 individuals nationwide. Community pharmacies are rooted in the communities where they are located and are among America's most accessible health care providers. To learn more, visit

About Cardinal Health

Cardinal Health, Inc. is a global, integrated healthcare services and products company, providing customized solutions for hospitals, healthcare systems, pharmacies, ambulatory surgery centers, clinical laboratories and physician offices worldwide. The company provides clinically proven medical products, pharmaceuticals and cost-effective solutions that enhance supply chain efficiency from hospital to home. To help combat prescription drug abuse, the company and its education partners created Generation Rx, a national drug education and awareness program. Backed by nearly 100 years of experience, with approximately 50,000 employees in nearly 46 countries, Cardinal Health ranks #14 on the Fortune 500. For more information, visit, follow @CardinalHealth on Twitter, @cardinalhealthwings on Facebook and connect on LinkedIn at