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    Signs of a weakening pharmacist job market

    Daniel L. Brown, PharmD, is a professor and director of faculty development at Palm Beach Atlantic University's Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy in West Palm Beach, Fla. He has more than 35 years of academic and professional experience, including hospital pharmacy management and teaching positions at four other pharmacy schools. 

    See also: Too many pharmacy schools? One dean says no

    Daniel L. BrownDaniel L. BrownFor years, Brown has warned that the flood of new pharmacy schools and the expansion of existing ones would create an oversupply of pharmacists and decrease salaries. His opinion is not unique, but it is unusual coming from a pharmacy school executive.

    Drug Topics recently spoke with Brown about the proliferation of pharmacy schools and their effect on the pharmacy job market.

    DT: There is disagreement over whether there is or will be an oversupply of pharmacists. If there is an oversupply, what is the biggest factor driving it?

    Brown: The Aggregate Demand Index (ADI) indicates that pharmacist supply is close to demand, but it is based on employer feedback. Unfortunately, there is no comparable measure derived from job-seeker feedback.

    My own observations as a former dean suggest that prior to 2009, almost all pharmacy students had jobs lined up at least six months before graduation, but those days are over. A study conducted in 2013 by eight schools in the Midwest queried pharmacy students about their plans four weeks before graduation. Of the 783 respondents, 81% had a job or post-graduate training program lined up, but 16% had not found employment and 3% had not started looking.

    Mark Lowery, Editor
    Mark Lowery an Editor for Drug Topics magazine.

    3 Comments

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    • ARDIEL@------.NET
      I had provider status more than twenty years ago when I owned my own pharmacy. It enabled me to rent and sell different kinds of durable medical equipment. The pharmacy was only 950 square feet but I rented hospital beds with the cooperation of a supplier trough whom I would make the arrangements. I sold walkers and commodes and whatever else the patient needed and I could provide. Oncology drugs were also able to be handled through the pharmacy but you needed to learn where to buy them as traditional drug wholesalers did not carry them. As you can see, being a provider of supplies where you can try to buy them at the best price available is different than being a provider for a service and charging what amounts to much more money than anybody in their right mind would pay at the retail level. I do not think an insurance company looking to cut costs which they all are would pay even to a provider. The think mailing the prescription to your house with three pages of information is all they are obligated to provide. Costs have to be reduced, and not increased. You are looking at the destruction of the retail market and that includes pharmacies.
    • MarkBurger
      " DT: Would gaining provider status solve the problem? Brown: It would help, but it is not the panacea that many envision. Provider status alone is of little value unless someone is willing to pay for the services. It is one thing to be granted authority to provide a service. Being paid for that service and integrating it into a functional workflow, as part of a financially sound business model, is an entirely different matter. Pharmacists have been recognized as providers for MTM under Medicare part D for more than 10 years, but have not been able to take full advantage of that opportunity." EXACTLY. Not only when "someone is willing to pay" but HOW MUCH ARE THEY WILLING TO PAY? Don't do it for $35 or $50. Pharmacists are worth $200/hour for this work. And you can't do it in 12-15 minutes. Don't even try. Don't mimic the mediocre medical model. It's a failed model. Focus on discontinuing drugs. Focus on Drug-Nutrient Depletions.
    • MarkBurger
      " DT: Would gaining provider status solve the problem? Brown: It would help, but it is not the panacea that many envision. Provider status alone is of little value unless someone is willing to pay for the services. It is one thing to be granted authority to provide a service. Being paid for that service and integrating it into a functional workflow, as part of a financially sound business model, is an entirely different matter. Pharmacists have been recognized as providers for MTM under Medicare part D for more than 10 years, but have not been able to take full advantage of that opportunity." EXACTLY. Not only when "someone is willing to pay" but HOW MUCH ARE THEY WILLING TO PAY? Don't do it for $35 or $50. Pharmacists are worth $200/hour for this work. And you can't do it in 12-15 minutes. Don't even try. Don't mimic the mediocre medical model. It's a failed model. Focus on discontinuing drugs. Focus on Drug-Nutrient Depletions.
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