Independent Pharmacy is the Safety Net Against COVID-19 for Millions of Americans, New Data Shows

NCPA: Analysis shows community pharmacies must be part of national COVID-19 strategy

NCPA April 7, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (April 7, 2020) — A new nationwide analysis of pharmacies shows there are millions of Americans whose only option is a local independent, something policymakers and suppliers must keep in mind as they make their battle plans for COVID-19, said the National Community Pharmacists Association today.

“There are thousands of communities in which the only pharmacy is an independent pharmacy,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA. “Community pharmacies are very often the only health care provider in town, which means they are a crucial cog in the national response to this pandemic.”

According to data analyzed by NCPA, there are 14,866 zip codes in the United States with at least one retail pharmacy. In 3,057 of those, or 20.5 percent, the only pharmacies are independently owned pharmacies.

“Community pharmacies are the last link in the health care chain closest to the patient, and in many communities, independent pharmacies are the primary health care source,” said Hoey. “In many cases, patients see their pharmacist more frequently than they see their doctors. That’s especially true right now.”

Pharmacies are on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. They’re expanding home delivery, adopting curb-side service, compounding hand sanitizer, and answering questions from anxious patients.

“They need personal protective equipment. They need point of care testing kits when they’re available. They need relief from the exorbitant clawback fees they must pay insurance companies just to dispense medicine. And they need regulatory and financial relief,” said Hoey. “Independent pharmacies are the patient safety net for millions of Americans, and we must ensure that they have what they need to fight this pandemic and be there in the future for patients.”

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Founded in 1898, the National Community Pharmacists Association is the voice for the community pharmacist, representing over 21,000 pharmacies that employ approximately 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