NCPA survey: Independent pharmacies impacted by supply chain, labor disruptions

PBM fees and vertical integration are also at the top of the list

A new survey released by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) featuring independent pharmacists revealed that although most independent pharmacy owners/managers are finding it difficult to fill staff positions and deal with supply chain issues (68% and 60% respectively), market pressures—such as pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) direct and indirect remuneration fees, and vertical integration—continue to be their top two concerns.

Majorities of respondents also report being worried about potential tax hikes on small businesses (76%) and inflation (64%) as additional challenges they’ll have to tackle. NCPA points out that these would be difficult waters for small business pharmacies to navigate, since many of them are tight on funds as a result of pharmacy DIR fees and low reimbursements from health insurance plan prescription drug divisions, among other factors. According to the survey, 31% of respondents described the overall financial health of their business as very good or somewhat good. Twenty-eight percent described it as average, and 41% described it as somewhat poor or very poor.

“Between rollouts of Covid-19 vaccines for children, boosters and seasonal flu shots—on top of their other existing patient care services—pharmacies are stretched very thin, while patients need them more than ever,” says B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, NCPA CEO. “Independent pharmacies are the safety nets protecting their communities, and owners are working overtime, docking their own pay, and doing everything they can to answer the call … Successful pharmacies mean healthier, happier lives for patients.”