Landmark Study Reveals True Cost to Dispense Prescription Medications in Wisconsin

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — According to a national study released today by the Coalition for Community Pharmacy Action (CCPA) the cost of dispensing medication in Wisconsin is $9.75 per prescription. This figure stands in stark contrast to the average dispensing fee paid by government programs such as Medicaid, which reimburses pharmacies on average approximately $4.50. The survey also shows that the national average cost of dispensing medication is $10.50 per prescription.

The Cost of Dispensing Study is the first of its kind, encompassing all factors related to the cost of dispensing medication, in more than 14 years. The study, conducted by the accounting firm Grant Thornton and supported by CCPA and the Community Pharmacy Foundation, reflects data from over 23,000 community pharmacies nationwide. In addition to nationwide cost of dispensing figures, the study includes state-level information for 46 states.

“As a result of low reimbursement rates, many pharmacies will have trouble keeping their doors open or will be forced to reduce the number of pharmacists or pharmacy hours,” said Charles Sewell, co-president CCPA. “Inadequate dispensing fees, compounded by a cut to Medicaid prescription drug reimbursement, threaten patient access and the pharmacist’s ability to continue to provide patients with quality health care.”

  Key study findings include:
* Costs of dispensing vary significantly from state to state, ranging from
an average of $8.50 per prescription in Rhode Island to $13.08 in
California. Pharmacies in Mountain and Pacific regions have the highest
average costs of dispensing.
* Pharmacies dispense varying numbers of prescriptions and face different
costs. When equal weight is given to all pharmacies, regardless of
prescription volume, the national average increases to $12.10 per
* Many pharmacies serving Medicaid beneficiaries have higher than average
costs of dispensing.
* Rural pharmacies fill 55 percent more Medicaid prescriptions per store
than urban pharmacies.
* Total prescription volume is a key variable related to a pharmacy’s cost
of dispensing.

“Clearly, the dispensing fees paid to pharmacies have not reflected the actual costs to provide prescription medications and pharmacy services to patients – this model needs to change,” said Julie Khani, co-president, CCPA. “CCPA commissioned the Cost of Dispensing study to respond to and help support policymakers’ efforts to provide fair and reasonable reimbursements to community pharmacies.”

The Cost of Dispensing Study is designed to help state and federal government officials as well as private payers who are interested in concrete data on the cost of dispensing to ensure continued access to local pharmacists and the valuable services they provide. The executive summary can be found at For full study results, please contact Valerie Stork at 703-837-4144 or [email protected].

The Coalition for Community Pharmacy Action (CCPA) is an alliance between the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), which together represent more than 55,000 community pharmacies. CCPA’s mission is to ensure that patients have continued access to affordable medicines and prescription care from their trusted and accessible health professional – the community pharmacist.