A new day in retail pharmacy: The evolving role of the pharmacist

For decades, pharmacists have been consistently named one of the most trusted health care providers nationwide. This trust has been central to the evolution of the profession over the years with pharmacies now serving as convenient, local destinations for accessible and high-quality care. Today, more than 90% of Americans live within five miles of a retail pharmacy. And more than half said they go to a pharmacy for health care services due to the convenient location.

Retail pharmacies were also uniquely positioned to help local communities across the country when they needed it most during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, retail pharmacies administered more than 266.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program (as of September 2022). Simply put, the pandemic changed how many Americans view pharmacists, and as a result there is an opportunity to create a future model where patients can continue to get important care in a pharmacy. For example, 74% of Americans agree that pharmacists should provide certain health care services when primary care is unavailable.

While COVID-19 shined a light on the important role of the pharmacist, it also added to existing challenges pharmacists face. As a result, the retail pharmacy industry must re-examine long-standing ways of working. This includes improving existing processes, workflow and staffing models and innovating in new and different ways to help free up pharmacists’ time for patient care.

A digital-first approach to pharmacy will also help to create more choice and convenience for the patient while ensuring more time and capacity for meaningful pharmacist interactions with their patients when and where they want it. With tens of millions of digitally engaged pharmacy customers, CVS Pharmacy® has already begun laying the foundation to create a digital-first, omnichannel pharmacy experience that connects its enterprise capabilities, elevates the role of the trusted pharmacist and meets patients where they are.

Read more in the Rx Industry Report (PDF).