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    Big-Box Pharmacy on the Rise

    Big-box merchandisers, including supermarkets, employ thousands of pharmacists and offer higher-than-average salaries.


    If you work in retail pharmacy, there is a good chance your next job won’t be in a traditional store. You will still be a pharmacist practicing pharmacy, but your pharmacy may be one of many departments in a mass merchandiser such as Walmart or Costco, or part of a grocery chain like Albertsons or Kroger.

    These big box retailers are adding more pharmacist jobs than traditional pharmacy chains. And mass merchandisers are paying the highest pharmacy salaries in the industry.

    “For the fifth consecutive year, pharmacists at mass merchants had the highest average salaries in the industry, earning a full-time average of $122,390 in 2016,” said Adam Fein, PhD, President of Pembroke Consulting. Pharmacist salary data for 2016 were published by Drug Channels Institute in early June.

    The average salary for all pharmacists was $120,188, an increase of 0.6% over 2015, Fein continued. Employee pharmacists working in chain, independent, and long-term care pharmacies took home $120,050—0.4% more than in 2015.

    Mass merchandiser pharmacists earned more on average, but they are also the only group who earned less than they did in 2015, down 0.4%.

    Grocery chain pharmacists earned slightly less, $118,860. But supermarket pharmacists had the largest salary gains, up 2.6% over 2015.

    Fein added that pharmacists who owned their own stores took home about $200,000 in 2015, the last year for which data on independent pharmacies are available.

    Up next: Follow the Money


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