NCPA Releases 2020 Digest Report

Annual report examines community pharmacy, changing pharmacy payment model

NCPA October 19, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Oct. 19, 2020) — The 2020 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health, was released today as part of the National Community Pharmacists Association’s Annual Convention. The NCPA Digest, which provides an annual overview of independent community pharmacy, found that the industry in 2019 represented 35 percent of all retail pharmacies in the United States and a $73.7 billion marketplace.

“Whether during times of crisis or calm, independent pharmacies are the safety nets protecting their communities, particularly those situated in rural and underserved areas,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA. “The NCPA Digest report details the many indispensable services patients are able to access at their neighborhood pharmacies, and also some of the pressures they face that can make it difficult to keep their doors open. The opportunities and challenges alike have been magnified by the coronavirus pandemic, but as we look to the development of vaccines and overcoming the virus, the importance of community pharmacy has never been clearer. Our goal of recognizing the value community pharmacists provide is coming into view, as our push to repair the broken pharmacy payment model continues full steam ahead. We’re fighting to accomplish this goal, with NCPA Digest data on hand and the knowledge that successful pharmacies mean healthier, happier lives for patients.”

The 2020 NCPA Digest identifies the wide variety of services offered by independent community pharmacies: in 2019, nearly 79 percent offer medication synchronization services; 79 percent offer medication therapy management; 77 percent provide flu immunizations; 73 percent provide non-flu immunizations; 54 percent perform blood pressure monitoring; and 53 percent furnish durable medical goods. From a philanthropic standpoint, 58 percent of all independent community pharmacy owners donated to at least five local organizations in 2019, with 50 percent of pharmacies donating more than $3,000 annually to support community organizations.

Additional highlights from the NCPA Digest covering the 2019 independent community pharmacy marketplace include:

  • The estimated number of independent community pharmacies continues to decline, falling to 21,683 stores.
  • Eighty-five percent of independent community pharmacies identified their primary pharmacy operation as retail pharmacy and eight percent identified as an apothecary. Seven percent identified as compounding, long-term care, or specialty.
  • Between 2014-19, the generic dispense rate increased from 80 percent to 86 percent.
  • Seventy-seven percent of community pharmacies serve population areas of 50,000 or fewer.
  • Sixty percent of rural ZIP codes and fifty-two percent of ZIP codes located in medically underserved areas have an independent community pharmacy that immunizes.
  • 2,621 pharmacies are participating in the CPESN® USA national network of clinically integrated pharmacies. To date, over 70 national or local network contracts have been signed and are active.
  • In 2019, average prescription volume was 57,414 per store, a substantial drop of over 1,000 prescriptions from 2018.
  • Government programs continue to grow in importance, with 55 percent of total prescriptions covered by the Medicare Part D and Medicaid programs.
  • The top four point-of-care services provided are influenza (22 percent), rapid strep (19 percent), cholesterol screening (12 percent), and A1C (9 percent).


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