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Pharmacy Job Market/Outlook

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by Pillmaster, May 26, 2005.

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  1. Pillmaster

    Pillmaster New Member

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    Will there be too many new graduates in the future? Things to consider:

    1) In the lean years with fewer graduates e.g. 2000, there we about 7500 Pharm D.s graduating.
    2) In another 4 years from now, there will be about 9000 - 9500 graduating (assuming a 12% average attition rate in pharmacy school) due to the complete transition to Pharm D., lots more new schools and expansion of existing programs. We are talking of a about 25% increase in number of graduates.
    3) Women working part time is a factor in reducing the effective number of graduates, but not as much as people state that it is - it works out to about a 15% reduction in full time equivalent pharmacists. It is not like most of them work half time.
    4) In the past 4 years, the "shortage" of pharmacists has been whittled down from about 7000 to about 3500. This is in spite of increased retail openings (retail growth rates should level off or be lower in the future) and increased volumes - this means that at an annual rate of 7500 graduates - you still have a slight oversupply. The excess at this point is nearly equivalent to, say, the number needed to staff K Mart pharmacies - if they went under which is a distinct possibility, the shortage may be mostly wiped out.
    5) Mail order (with its greatly reduced need for pharmacists for each unit of work performed) handles more business than independents - and more growth is on the way.
    6) A move towards 90-day refills will affect the approximately 50% retail business which is for chronic medications. This will reduce some work.
    7) Automation, e-prescriptions, RFIDs will reduce the need for multiple Pharm D.s at a pharmacy. At the current salary levels, retail will surely try and reduce the number of Pharm D.s needed.


    However, in spite of quoting some of the numbers mentioned above, you see newspaper articles state that there will be a shortage in the future. I don't see the logic. Seems fashionable at this time to perpetuate the myth of a shortage. Clinical positions are supposed to increase the need for Pharm D.s in the future, but as the manpower and other studies state, the expected clinical positions are a perceived need by the guardians of the profession and are not projections of actual demand.

    Does anyone have a take on these facts? Thanks!
  2. jdpharmd?

    jdpharmd? Turning lead into gold

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    We've covered this before, but there is some fact that 85% of the population will be over 65 by 2015 or something crazy like that. Essentially, a huge portion of the population is aging and getting to the point where they need more medical care.. I'm too lazy to look up the real stats, but I'd say we're ok for a while.

    In my opinion, I don't need a shortage in a profession to get/retain a job. The end of the shortage is the end of all those horrible pharmacists that retain their jobs only because "that's all we could find"...
    USCTrojans2003 likes this.
  3. BMBiology

    BMBiology on maternity leave

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    pharmacy goes through a 15 year economic cycle. The stortage will end...it is just a matter of time.
  4. crossurfingers

    crossurfingers Senior Member

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    I think that's on the mind of all the students that are in school right now too. One of my pharmacy friends was joking around and said she'd volunteer to be a speaker at our alma mater's pre-pharmacy club to dissuade new students from entering. :laugh:
  5. SomeGuy

    SomeGuy Senior Member

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    Two important things you did not account for:

    1. The number of foreign pharmacists getting licensed in the USA. Is there a system in place to ensure that the number of spots are cut back if there is a surplus?

    2. Retirements of current pharmacists. Think about it, demand for prescriptions will spike when retirements (of pharmacists and all other occupations) will spike.

    Mail order is my biggest fear if it really catches on. Anyone have any stats on how many prescriptions are filled via mail order (in absolute or relative terms), both online and the grey-market foreign pharmacies?

    I guess those willing to pick up and leave to where the demand is will have no problem, and those who don't will have problems. The days of the ability to choose precisely where you want to work are numbered.

    I don't think demand for prescriptions will drop for several decades. Demand for pharmacists is a different question.
  6. kellia

    kellia aspiring pharmacist

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    i'm not too worried about mail order prescriptions. i mean, the scripts don't fill themselves... pharmacists will still be needed once the shortage is reduced, although HOW they (we!!) are needed may change. i think there will be a greater need for clinical involvement by pharmacists in the future, which i am really looking forward to.
  7. crossurfingers

    crossurfingers Senior Member

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    I'm worried about the robots. They'll probably do the work for 7 pharmacists with the need for only one to double check things.
  8. DrPharm

    DrPharm Senior Member

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    the robots will mainly affect the technician's positions....pharmDs still need to verify the prescriptions. :thumbup:
  9. rxgal8

    rxgal8 Senior Member

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    But since robots are much faster, you'll still need atleast 2 pharmacists (in busy stores) to keep up in checking the prescriptions before they are bagged. So I wouldn't worry about it. And for technicians, they'll still be needed for insurance, drop-off/pick-up windows, refilling the machines, etc.

    Hopefully in the near future, we'll shift roles towards therapy more. MTM is a good start :thumbup:
  10. crying moo

    crying moo pancakes!

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    I wouldn't be too worried about it.

    In any case... If you're worried, cover your own behind and strive to be the BEST pharmacist ever! There will always be a need for at *least* 1 pharmacist in this world. Only the best/better/good pharmacists will get jobs... and wouldn't it be better for our profession to have higher standards? I'd rather be judged on my ablilty and knowlege than "do I have a liscence and a pulse?" As JD alluded to, you ALL KNOW there are crappy pharmacists out there. Those are the ones that will lose their jobs. Don't let yourself be one of them.

    Anyway I'm glad we have robots to process and count. More time for patient care. If only we could get better inventory and insurance robots.
  11. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist

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    We have a Parata robot in our store. It doesn't save any time. Walgreens computer system has you scan the drug out of the robot, then scan at the counter and recount the pills using the scale connected to the computer system. The scale miscounts a lot, so we keep pills of different sizes around the scale to put on if it under counts or we take a pill out if it overcounts.

    That is the best scenario. The robot gets label jams once a week. You have to feed in vials, caps & of course keep it stocked up. Sometimes there are pills in the cell, but the robot won't count them. You need to adjust the pressure in that cell. It almost takes a full time person to manage the robot.

    Sometimes it says that it filled, but you can't find the vial. Sometimes it doesn't fill it at all, so you have to create a manual fill. Two hours later, it will finally fill it, then you have to return that to stock.

    I wish it was gone. It is a headache.
  12. crying moo

    crying moo pancakes!

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    that...sucks...

    I worked with two pretty good systems before and never had much trouble. I'd rather not count 360 tablets out of a 500 bottle, so I'm happy, but I've never had the trouble you described! How does that work? Do you have to re-count ALL the rxs to see if there's a miscount?? How do you know the scale is off?

    in conclusion, I like traffic lights, but only when they're green.
    and no, they can never replace a good pharmacist. (They MAY however, replace bad pharmacists)
  13. KUMoose

    KUMoose Grumpy old man

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    Short answer yes there is a system, don't plan on it actually working.

    H1/B (work visas) have to prove they provide a service that isn't obtainable by the current naturalized work force. They have to back it up with at least 60 days of open recruitment.

    That being said, it's incredibly easy to get around the system if you have someone good at creative BS'ing. I can't tell you how many IT guys the company has brought in, and kept working although the unemployment rate in KC for technical staff was close to 10% (double the national average). I can only assume that's true in most technical areas.
  14. pharmaz88

    pharmaz88

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    LOL. We just upgraded from Baker cassettes to Baker cells, and we feel the exact same way. The cells hold only 1/4 of what you could fit in the cassettes, are always running out, and bottleneck production when one cell does run out since it won't just go on to the next rx. I wish we had our old cassettes back... things went much smoother, AND faster!

    ...all this technology is great... in mail order. In the store environment though, it pretty much sucks.
  15. SomeGuy

    SomeGuy Senior Member

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    Yes, being somewhat interested in IT, I've heard about all the H1B abuses. At least the H1B is time-limited. There are other types of visas however with no annual limits or time limits, such as L1-Bs and TNs.

    But I guess what I was really referring to was the NAPLEX exams and such, are there any restrictions set by the foreigner licensing exams so that it automatically becomes more difficult to gain licensure. Eg: If there's no shortage, only X number will pass, whereas, if there is a shortage, 3X will pass and gain licensure?
  16. imperial frog

    imperial frog Pharm.D

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    I'm more worried about the robots that attack senior citizens and steal their medication. Luckily robot attack insurance is available for this though.
  17. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist

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    We are required to recount, even if there isn't a miscount. The scales seem to be always off by a couple of pills, so we have to take time to fool the scale. If we don't, then Walgreens computer system reports that we are not verifiying all scripts and will give the store a bad grade. I sometimes manually count the pills to see who was right - the robot or the scale. But, in a crunch, I don't have time to do that. I manually double count all the C-II's, but I also have to put them in Walgreens scale after I scan the label.

    Yesterday, the robot chewed up all the lorazepam. :(
  18. paddyboy777

    paddyboy777 Junior Member

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    I understand that the annual number of foreign graduates who get to practice in the US is pretty small - about 500 or so. Passing NAPLEX is no big deal for these graduates - I know several mediocre overseas graduates who got through.

    One point that Pillmaster makes bothers me. As the surplus has come down over the past few years without any additional graduates, surely, there will be a glut in the future. In the 1980s when the government provided capitation money to start Pharm schools, lots of schools opened up and flooded the market. 5 - 6 schools closed down later in that decade. However, the diifference this time around is that many new schools are private and may not be too willing to shut down to alleviate a glut.

    About only the better Pharm D.s keeping their jobs, it is not always that straightforward in corporate America. Not all the IT folks who lost their jobs were incompetent. Sometimes it is the senior ones with more pay who lose their jobs. Hence, an oversupply depresses salary growth and work options.

    Also about Pharmacists retiring, I read someplace that the average age of Pharm Ds is 42. However, unlike nurses and Physical Therapists, Pharmacists and Physicians can keep working till they keel over as the job is not as physically demanding. Hence, as long as they make a decent salary, they can keep working at least part-time.
  19. SomeGuy

    SomeGuy Senior Member

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    Welp, I'll assume that nobody will go to the $30k/year school when there are no jobs available. You're really paying for a license more than an education, it doesn't matter where you go, as long as you go in the first place. People may be able to rationalize paying $30k/year for a BA, because where you go matters, but not for pharmacy. State schools can run at a loss, for-profit ones won't do so for too long.

    Be careful with that statistic, the PharmD only became mandatory a few years ago, before that, a significant number of people in the profession (80%+?) just got their BS. The results are going to be skewed toward the younger recent grads.

    I agree, competence is by no means the absolute indicator of success. One's perceived productivity/price ratio and how well one plays the politics game are the true factors. I think we tend to see this in political arenas quite often.

    On the plus side, with the money that pharmacists and physicians make over nurses and PTs, they can certainly afford to retire at an earlier age, or never really work on a full-time basis.

    Off-topic question: Does one need to have the PharmD to sit for Naplex, or simply a BSPh degree that takes 5 years to complete?

    PS: Nice to see some logical discussions and insight :)

    I just want to make some trendlines and use some evidential (I don't care if its not a word, it makes sense!) basis for my predictions, like any investment banker would.
  20. paddyboy777

    paddyboy777 Junior Member

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    Someguy: It was a typo when I wrote that Pharm D. average age is 42. Average age of all pharmacists in the US is 42.

    Graduates from overseas with less than 5 years education can take additional courses to get the 5-yr equivalent. However, different states have different rules. Many do the 2 year bridge deal where they can get a Pharm D.

    Agree with you that Pharm D.s can afford to work part time IF their salaries stay high. Just as fast as salaries went up to fix a short term dearth, they can erode if an oversupply develops. It is interesting to see how people start to think that they deserve close to 100K because they have a Pharm D. - they forget that over 80% of the Pharmacists have a BPharm and are entitled to the same salary. There is no other health care field where folks with a bachelor's make 100K (without OT) to essentially do the same job that they did when hired? Obviously, unlike the MDs, Pharm D.s don't have the luxury of a limited supply with all the new schools coming up. It is crazy to see schools that do not offer any other programs of note start Pharm D. programs. Many open schools without the requisite number of faculty on facilities in place. I am not trying to flame anybody here - just some observations.
  21. plsfoldthx

    plsfoldthx

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    There seems to be a lot of hype about pharmacists being an easy-going, well-paying profession and as a result, has a lot of people flocking to it. I have also heard complaints fromone friend in socal that he'd be lucky if he could find a job making 90k after pharm school.

    what do u think?
  22. Argentium

    Argentium

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    :beat::beat::beat::beat::beat::beat::beat::beat:
  23. Priapism321

    Priapism321 Bursting with enthusiasm

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    So right. $40,000 max salary is what I have heard, and the only place in the country with jobs is downtown Baltimore.
  24. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex

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    X 1000

    Actaully the only jobs to be had right now are in Alaska...I hear they are offering 1 million for a five year contract.
  25. dumediat

    dumediat

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    Honestly, how many threads do we need about this topic?
  26. Argentium

    Argentium

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    until people use the search button to learn that ...
    THE WORLD IS GOING TO END AND WE'RE ALL DOOMED.


    but maybe obama can save us??? :smuggrin:
  27. atticus27

    atticus27

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  28. StaviZFingerZ

    StaviZFingerZ Retired

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    Dead Horse? Yeah...but let's at least have enough courtesy to answer the OP.

    Yes, the market is getting saturated with pharmacists. It will only get worse as more and more pharmacy schools are now graduating pharmacists. With more schools opening.
  29. slight365

    slight365

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    The chain directors and the directors of schools have been saying for years that there's such an incredible shortage, but at the same time, on the street, the problem isn't so bad. There was much redundancy in the field, and now with chains shrinking, there's inevitably going to be a shortage of positions. On top of that, vicious management positions against pharmacists and staff, against unions, and condensing of stores and positions is going to make the field salaries stagnate.

    No one is in danger of making 40k, but realistically, there is going to be some impact on the field, quality of employment and opportunities, and pay.

    With lowered reimbursements from Medicaid and private insurors and people moving to the $4 generics in many cases, the companies are just trying to maintain human traffic flow through the stores, not pay ridiculous pharmacist and staff salaries.
  30. fhx06

    fhx06 lolwut?

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    Would you say that the OP should've had the courtesy to use the search function to see the thread that was active just a few days ago? I really don't think all of our opinions changed within the past week.
  31. slight365

    slight365

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    Who cares. Post a link so everyone redirects and be done with it.

    The discussion changes daily based on the field.
  32. jachen84

    jachen84

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    Sorry, but this ship has sailed. Try nursing and good luck!
  33. jachen84

    jachen84

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    edit: double post
  34. atticus27

    atticus27

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    :beat::beat::beat::beat::beat:
    :beat::beat::beat::beat::beat:
  35. StaviZFingerZ

    StaviZFingerZ Retired

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    I was being facetious.
  36. Argentium

    Argentium

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    It is a long standing tradition to not post any useful information on this forum and to avoid answering repetitive questions! Where do you think half of WVU's posts come from?!
  37. fhx06

    fhx06 lolwut?

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    Would not posting relevant information to repetitive be indirectly informing the OP to go search?

    Was there some reason the OP couldn't have used the search function?
  38. slight365

    slight365

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    I don't know, but the entertainment factor is amazing.
  39. fhx06

    fhx06 lolwut?

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    It really is entertaining that professional students do not know how to use the search function. :)
  40. prevacid

    prevacid

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    i do believe saturation is coming, and I think its time pharmacists get together and do something about it

    here is the problem:

    schools opening up at record pace, companies going to central fill sites (which will cut down on in store pharmacy hours)...2 factors working against us...i think the next 15 years we are ok, but after thats who knows

    here is what we can do to combat problem:

    stricter admission: mandatory BS degree, minimum age (21), require certain PCAT scores, limit class size, and require mandatory one year minimum post graduate residency

    just my 2 cents
  41. atticus27

    atticus27

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    Nooooooooooooooooo!

    :beat::beat::beat::beat::beat:
    :beat::beat::beat::beat::beat:
  42. jachen84

    jachen84

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    i think we all agree that something must be done. but the question is who will step up to the plate and organize all of this lobbying to happen?
  43. Argentium

    Argentium

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    No one! Pharmacists are unorganizable - we are too free spirited :laugh:
  44. jachen84

    jachen84

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    you quickly realize you have 2 options of what to do with your PharmD after you graduate. you can either:

    -use your license/degree as a means to have a lucrative job and just be happy to do it well and reap the rewards

    or

    -have a hunger to learn more and make a difference not only in your line of work but to strive and help revolutionize and advance the profession.

    unfortunately all those years in school has only trained many of us to act one way and not the other
  45. prevacid

    prevacid

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    aka, do a 2 year residency....cuz once u have that, you will always be ahead of the curve...i tell every student to do a residency

    however, its really hard too cuz when a student gets a 50 bucks an hour offer and has 100K in loans, thats just too hard to ignore
  46. prevacid

    prevacid

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    this is the problem, i think we need to influence the ACPE via these organizations that are already out there (ASHP, etc)....i mean whatever happens will have to start small and go up from there....i myself wrote a letter but i didnt get any response....i just think we need to raise awareness as the first step
  47. PharmDstudent

    PharmDstudent

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    No thanks! It's just another racket- plain and simple.

    The opportunity cost of a residency is not justifiable. The income lost while making $30-40k as a resident is roughly $60-70k/year (based on $100k/year salary). Seeing that I will graduate with ~$100k in debt after 8 years of college, a year of residency costs ($100k/8 years of college = $12.5k/year vs $60-70k/year lost per year of residency) approx. 5 times more than a year of college, which is ridiculous!
    That's all you'll have left after a year of residency...




    Experience and advanced degrees on top of a PharmD are both economical and prestigious alternatives, AND they're just as good as residencies- IMO.
  48. prevacid

    prevacid

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    but youre assuming salaries stay same, if saturation comes, then salary goes down

    requiring the year of residency isnt for the cost, its to ensure more educated practiotioners are being graduated and to limit the bad ones
  49. PharmDstudent

    PharmDstudent

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    If the salaries go down for PharmDs due to saturation, then they'll go down for residents, too, because there will be a surplus of students applying for residencies and no incentive to raise residents' salaries.

    Are you saying that a student would have to do a year of residency before graduating? That's what it sounds like, because graduation always comes before residency.


    Perhaps you should write appropriately in a professional forum... it would enhance your argument that residents are more educated- just a tad. :smuggrin:
  50. prevacid

    prevacid

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    if people see they have to do a residency after graduation, it will deter people from getting into it from the get go...talk to some preceptors who have taken in students from these new pharmacy schools, they are appalled at their lack of knowledge

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