Rewriting the Script:
Independent Pharmacy Trends
2022 Research Report
Pharmacies are in flux.
The industry currently faces numerous headwinds, but there is no better time for independent pharmacists to evolve to best meet their patients’ needs and seize the opportunities brought by change.
Consider these forces: Pharmacies are seeing renewed respect from consumers after they played critical roles during the COVID-19 pandemic; pharmacies of all sizes are feeling the impact of high fees from cash discount cards; and independent pharmacies must set themselves apart amid fierce competition.
Despite some headwinds, pharmacies are well positioned for growth. Within the next decade, a physician shortage and aging population means that the demand for healthcare services will outpace supply.¹ Already, 25% of American adults do not have a primary care provider,² yet nearly half of all adults take a prescription medication at least once a month.³
At Prescryptive Health, we understand independent pharmacies are core to a patient’s experience within the healthcare system. Preserving and strengthening our nation’s independent pharmacies is our passion, and we know technology has the potential to help independent pharmacies not only survive but thrive.
We connect consumers directly to pharmacies and help those pharmacies improve profitability while offering competitive prices and convenient services. Consumers need modern solutions now more than ever as they struggle amid sky-high inflation, unpredictable healthcare costs, and fears of a recession. To gain more insights into the landscape today, we commissioned a survey of more than 340 decision-makers at independent pharmacies and more than 1,000 consumers throughout the United States.
THREE KEY THEMES EMERGED:
1. The prominence of consumerism and a growing role for technology in pharmacy
2. The cash-paying conundrum consumers and pharmacies face for prescription drugs
3. Struggles and opportunities for the future of pharmacy
These results show tremendous changes on the horizon, and they continue to reinforce why Prescryptive Health exists. We help independent pharmacies remain strong, adaptable, and indispensable to the people they serve, both now and in the future.
Consumerism and Technology’s Growing Roles in Pharmacy
With rising healthcare costs, consumers are finding ways to save—that includes shopping around when filling their prescriptions. These patients have good reason, as 83% of consumers say the cost of prescription drugs is unreasonable, and one in three has not taken medication as prescribed due to cost.4 Worse, almost one-third of Americans have avoided seeking healthcare due to cost alone, increasing the risk of worsening health outcomes— and downstream costs.5
Results from our survey provide new insights into what consumers value in their pharmacies, how consumers view the role of shopping in pharmacies, and how pharmacists view these trends.
Overall, consumers want to have more control over their prescriptions. Technological innovation could provide them with that control.
In fact, 95% of consumer respondents said they were at least somewhat aware that the same medication can be priced differently between pharmacies, while 72% said they would be likely to use their mobile phone to compare drug prices and “shop around.”
Pharmacists are already viewing these shifting tides as inevitable: 96% of pharmacy decision makers say consumer prescription “shopping” will stay over the next 1-2 years, and 85% think “shopping” will increase in that timeframe. There is also general support for “shopping” among decision makers, with 74% saying they appreciate consumers’ ability to compare prices between pharmacies.