Pharmacy Technician Shortage Is Critical

Pharmacy Times, November 2022, Volume 88, Issue 11

Technicians are vital members of pharmacy teams and stepped up even more during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is no surprise that pharmacy technicians are in short supply because of heavy workloads, inadequate staffing levels, and, most of all, low salaries.

In a 2021 American Society of Health-System (ASHP) survey 75% of technicians said that higher pay would help them stay in their positions.

Some of the other survey results are equally alarming.

Most pharmacy executives surveyed reported technician turnover rates of 21% to 30%, and 10% of executives reported losing 41% or more of their technician workforce. In addition, a vacancy rate of 22.2% and 20.8% was reported for inpatient and ambulatory technician positions, respectively. And 89% of pharmacy executives said that pharmacists were forced to perform technician duties, 53% that service reductions were required, and 48% that expansion of new services had been delayed.1

Another recent survey from the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA’s) reinforced the urgency of the situation.2

The NCPA survey results showed that more than three-quarters of community pharmacist respondents were having a difficult time filling open positions, with more than 88% saying that finding technicians was their No. 1 problem.

How does the profession fix this problem? Pharmacy employers can develop career ladders that provide advancement opportunities, implement training programs, offer incentive pay for open shifts, pay the cost of meeting registrations and memberships, serve as rotation sites for external training programs to increase the pool of recruits, and offer sign-on bonuses.

One way to address the problem is the use of agency technicians to mitigate short-term staffing needs. But that does not address the biggest issue: compensation. Technicians are vital members of pharmacy teams and stepped up even more during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time to compensate them in accordance with their value.

Elsewhere in this issue, our Cover Feature looks at managing low back pain. Other articles tackle cold, cough, and flu medications; treating acne; the link between dental and cardiovascular health, and kidney damage from diabetes.

Thanks for reading!

fREFERENCES

1. Pharmacy technician shortage survey findings executive summary. American Society of Health-System Pharmacy. March 2020. Accessed October 19, 2022. https://www.ashp.org/-/media/assets/pharmacy-technician/docs/Technician-Shortage-Survey-Exec-Summary.pdf

2. Survey: three-quarters of community pharmacies report staff shortages. News release. National Community Pharmacists Association. August 11, 2022. Accessed November 4, 2022. https://ncpa.org/newsroom/news-releases/2022/08/11/survey-three-quarters-community-pharmacies-report-staff-shortages