GREETINGS, YOUNG PHARMACISTS.Congratulations on your choice of animportant and rewarding career. The challengesthat face the profession of pharmacytoday are significant, but the opportunitiesare nearly limitless. With an aging population,the expansion of retail pharmacies,and the development of new prescriptionmedicines, the demand for pharmacists is"skyrocketing," according to MercerHuman Resource Consulting.
The US Department of Labor's Bureau ofLabor Statistics reports that pharmacistsenjoy "high salaries and good job prospects," with projected job growth of 18% to 26%through the year 2014. This is partly due toincreased prescription drug coverage by privatehealth insurance plans, as well as theimplementation of Medicare Part D, whichbegan providing prescription drug coverageto seniors for the first time in January 2006.With pharmacists' starting salaries topping$90,000 per year in many areas, the future forpharmacists is bright.
The implementation of Medicare Part Dhas ushered in the era of medication therapymanagement (MTM). For the first time, thegovernment has said it wants pharmacists tooffer medication counseling to the most atrisksenior patients in order to optimizepatient outcomes, and is willing to pay forthat service. The systemization of MTM servicesgives us the opportunity to bring aboutthe paradigm shift that we have long soughtin pharmacy?that is, a shift in pharmacypractice from products to professional services.We must take full advantage of thisopportunity to promote the unique and specializedtraining we offer, regardless of thepractice setting. As the next generation ofpharmacists, I urge you to take the lead inshaping the future of pharmacy.Good luck!
Mr. Roberts is the executivevice president and chiefexecutive officer of theNational CommunityPharmacists Association.