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Has the Supply and Demand for Pharmacists Changed?

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Recently, I had a mid-career pharmacist come into my office saying she was having trouble finding a job. She had been a pharmacist-in-charge for a chain pharmacy, but resigned from that role and took a "float pharmacist" position for the same company. Within the last few months, she has not gotten any work from that company.

Do you think this is just her problem or has the supply and demand equation for pharmacists changed? I talked to one recruiter who said the market has changed, so employers are now in control rather than the employee.

If that is true, it raises several questions for me:

 1. Has the current economy caused this problem because fewer stores are opening? 

 2. Have some of the technology innovations related to the dispensing process actually reduced the demand for pharmacists in the dispensing role?

 3. Do we now have too many schools of pharmacy or have our class sizes become so large that we are producing too many pharmacists?

Do you foresee a growing workforce problem in pharmacy? If so, in your opinion, what is the reason for it?

We'd like to hear from you--please comment on this topic below.

Fred Eckel
Editor-in-Chief
Pharmacy Times

Blog Info
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times
Blog Description
This blog focuses on what our Editor-in-Chief sees as the future of pharmacy.
Author Bio
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, is the Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times, a position he has held since 2002. Mr. Eckel is a professor at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as executive director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists.

In this blog, Eckel will provide commentary on relevant issues impacting pharmacists and pharmacy professionals, including the merging of pharmacy benefit managers, the implications of health care reform, the conversion of major drugs from prescription to over-the-counter, trends in pharmacy careers, and opioid abuse. He will also discuss legislative issues that impact pharmacists, and comment on the evolving role of the pharmacist.
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