Remember When: You first heard the pharmacy school question?
If you’re a pharmacist, you’ve undoubtedly heard the question, Are there too many pharmacy schools? We addressed it in our June 2009 cover story, “Betting on the pharmacy boom, building the future.”
As that story pointed out, the answer to the question varies greatly—as it does today—depending on the person answering it. In that article, the dean of the pharmacy school at Touro University California pointed to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that predicted a 38,000 shortage of pharmacists by 2030.
“Pharmacists have become more involved in clinical activities in hospitals, clinics, and even in community pharmacy, where diabetes and asthma programs have become quite common,” Katherine Knapp told Drug Topics.
However, almost three-quarters of pharmacists polled by DT for that same story did not think more schools were needed. Many of them lamented the fact that 18 new pharmacy schools had opened or were scheduled to open between 2005 and 2010.
Still no clear answer
There is still no definitive answer to the question. However, there have been indicators that the number of pharmacy schools may have reached a critical mass. In 2015, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists released a forecast in which 60% of its panelists predicted salaries of entry-level, health-system pharmacists would decline by up to 10% by 2019.