"Chain pharmacies are going to continue to benefit from the overall growth in the pharmaceutical industry," said Pembroke Consulting president Adam Fein, an expert on the pharmacy supply chain.
"There are a number of innovative therapies coming to market, specialty drugs are going to continue to launch, and more people are getting health coverage.
That's all a big tailwind for the industry."
Chains are also benefiting from the fact that consumers seem to prefer shopping at chains versus other formats, noted Fein, who's also chief executive officer of Pembroke's Drug Channels Institute.
"If you look back over the last few years, chains have had a disproportionate share of the pharmacy industry's growth, much faster than smaller independent and mail pharmacies," she
Going forward, the major pharmacy retailers must figure out how to tackle the booming specialty drug market, where there's a battle for patients, according to Fein
"The chains need to be much more focused on how they're going to participate in the dispensing of specialty drugs," he
"The specialty market's growth is drawing all sorts of competitors," Fein
explained, citing pharmacy benefits managers, health plans, wholesalers, physician practices, health systems and independent specialty pharmacies.