Iowa pharmacy sector strong despite economy

Part 1 of a two-part series about the state of pharmacy in Iowa.

A sluggish economy has not damaged the pharmacy business in Iowa, according to an American Pharmacy News analysis.

The analysis also shows that the Midwestern state also is home to fewer “ma and pa” pharmacies than is commonly perceived.

During the past four years in an economic slowdown the number of pharmacies in the state has been stable, according to Iowa Board of Pharmacy statistics. The number of pharmacies was 943 in 2010 and 925 in 2014, a decline of less than 2 percent.

In addition, nearly 80 percent of the pharmacies are organized as corporations, according to state records. Because Iowa is made up of hundreds of small-to-medium sized cities, there is a common perception that most retail business is not corporate affiliated.

Iowa has the 29th most pharmacies in the country among the states, according to the California-based private health care research firm SK&A. It is the 30th most populous state, according to the U.S. Census.

Hy-Vee Inc., based in West Des Moines, is the 16th largest pharmacy chain in the country, ranked by number of pharmacists, according to SK&A.

Pharmacists in Iowa make an average of $100,750, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pharmacy technicians make an average of $29,320 and pharmacy aides make an average of $21,780.

NEXT: More detailed statistics indicate further the strength of Iowa's pharmacy business, indicating it is mostly home grown and deeply ingrained in the state's retail fabric.
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