tlh908

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Did anyone see the Nov 17 edition of Drug Store News? According to the article, Walgreens is looking to cut $1 billion in cost by in annual cost reductions. Where is there is the largest cost? Labor. Plain and simple. Future pharmacists need to see the writing on the wall, the large retail companies will soon do all they can to contain pharmacist salaries.
This is how it starts. Walgreens says they are going to start, and then CVS will follow suit. And Walmart (how can they afford $4 Rxs anymore?). And since they don't have any competitiors left, they will easily be able to get rid of the $100,000 salaries.
At least indys can still be profitable. Just started talking to one owner who makes $250k a year and only works 9-5 on m-f, and 4 hours on Saturday....
 

bigpharmD

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Did anyone see the Nov 17 edition of Drug Store News? According to the article, Walgreens is looking to cut $1 billion in cost by in annual cost reductions. Where is there is the largest cost? Labor. Plain and simple. Future pharmacists need to see the writing on the wall, the large retail companies will soon do all they can to contain pharmacist salaries.
This is how it starts. Walgreens says they are going to start, and then CVS will follow suit. And Walmart (how can they afford $4 Rxs anymore?). And since they don't have any competitiors left, they will easily be able to get rid of the $100,000 salaries.
At least indys can still be profitable. Just started talking to one owner who makes $250k a year and only works 9-5 on m-f, and 4 hours on Saturday....


AHHHHH we should all quit and become PA's.......
 

bacillus1

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Well, at least a PharmD is a good degree to combine with other things...If pharmacy starts being unprofitable I'll just do PharmD/MPH. I mean yeah it'll pay less but I think it'll still be a good 75k.

For more money-seekers, a PharmD/MBA is a great option.

And personally, I'm fine with being a pharmacist even if the salary is cut by 10 grand.
 
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ItsOverZyvox

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$1 Billion in Labor means 6,700 FTE pharmacist hours ($150,000 per pharmacist total compensation with benefits). How many wags are out there?? About 7,000? I'm just guessing.

So, by cutting 1 pharmacist per store, they can save a billion bucks. I say go for it... meanwhile let me get some Wags stocks.
 

Aznfarmerboi

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Did anyone see the Nov 17 edition of Drug Store News? According to the article, Walgreens is looking to cut $1 billion in cost by in annual cost reductions. Where is there is the largest cost? Labor. Plain and simple. Future pharmacists need to see the writing on the wall, the large retail companies will soon do all they can to contain pharmacist salaries.
This is how it starts. Walgreens says they are going to start, and then CVS will follow suit. And Walmart (how can they afford $4 Rxs anymore?). And since they don't have any competitiors left, they will easily be able to get rid of the $100,000 salaries.
At least indys can still be profitable. Just started talking to one owner who makes $250k a year and only works 9-5 on m-f, and 4 hours on Saturday....

yes they announced it a while ago. I saw it while looking at their stocks. Itsoverzyvox. . . all i got to say is CVS.
 

tlh908

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If I were a student, I would just be very careful about taking any student loans. Students loans can not be forgiven, just don't blindly sign any paper they put in front of you. And be careful of any new pharmacy school that is looking to profit from blind students....
Also, look for other options besides the chains. Indys can still be profitable....
 

Aznfarmerboi

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Agreed. If you come out with 150k student loans, those loans will stick with you until death do you apart. Even if you file for bankruptcy, they will not be forgiven. This means that if you cant pay, the interest just keeps on adding up.

I cannot stress this enough. The last thing you want to do is to work your entire life just to pay off that debt.
 

tlh908

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Well, at least a PharmD is a good degree to combine with other things...If pharmacy starts being unprofitable I'll just do PharmD/MPH. I mean yeah it'll pay less but I think it'll still be a good 75k.

For more money-seekers, a PharmD/MBA is a great option.

And personally, I'm fine with being a pharmacist even if the salary is cut by 10 grand.

So you are fine just selling out to the highest bidder? As a pharmacist I believe that I provide more $100k in services and benefits to my community. I don't just draw a paycheck but am here to serve the community.
Lets not sell out pharmacy, but fight for good customer care. The only way corporations can diminsh pharmacy is if the pharmacist let them.
 

aboveliquidice

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If I were a student, I would just be very careful about taking any student loans. Students loans can not be forgiven, just don't blindly sign any paper they put in front of you. And be careful of any new pharmacy school that is looking to profit from blind students....
Also, look for other options besides the chains. Indys can still be profitable....

How realistic is that for a student going to a private school w/o a trustfund???

~above~
 

Chickenpharm

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Publix as well has begun the cutting of hours....sugar-coated layoffs.
Busiest stores will be hurt the most...customer service will be compromised.
 

Hels2007

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I just heard today than Walgreens districts in NJ (I am not sure if that's all of them or just one, but likely all) are on a hiring freeze until May... well, what did you expect? With the state of economy providing a convenient excuse, and the number of pharmacy schools mushrooming since even I applied (and that wasn't that long ago) and many existing schools churning out ever more applicants...
 
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b*rizzle

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Agreed. If you come out with 150k student loans, those loans will stick with you until death do you apart. Even if you file for bankruptcy, they will not be forgiven. This means that if you cant pay, the interest just keeps on adding up.

I cannot stress this enough. The last thing you want to do is to work your entire life just to pay off that debt.

Some of us can't help the loan situation. And believe me, we're all too aware of it. I, like several on this forum, wasn't as fortunate as a lot of my classmates, who have a spouse or parents who can pay (or at least partially so) their way through school.

I'm reminded of my situation every week, when I check my schedule at work and remember that i have to work 30 hours a week on top of a full-time PY3 schedule, thankyouverymuch.

I'd rather come out of school with $120k debt, making $110,000 to $120,000 yearly, than not going to pharmacy school just because I don't want to owe any money & end up maxing out my salary at $45,000 a year.
 

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Pharmacy is a relatively secure position with many available jobs.
Lots of companies need to cut costs right now, not just pharmacy. Look at hospitals. Are hospitals suddenly going to cut their doctors and nurses just because they need to make budget cuts? I would imagine unnecessary cuts will be made first. Professions like PTs, OTs, and NPs and PAs will begin to feel some pressure. Professions like optometry and chiropractic have already felt the tremendous pains of an over-saturated market in a down-economy.

Companies like Walgreens will stop expanding so rapidly, but there is still a need for drugs. There are other ways to cut expenses than cutting labor. They may cut hours of pharmacists, and cut benefits, and freeze bonuses and salary hikes, but there is still going to be a need for pharmacists. Healthcare is always high in demand during recession.

Some of us won't be able to find our desired job in big cities, but there will still be jobs in small rural communities. Walmart is still begging for staff in many of their rural stores right now.

Also, if there is a glut of pharamacist positions and an ecoomic recession, many of the newly established pharmacy schools will feel tremendous pressure themselves. I would foresee many of the newer schools not being able to survive a hard recession or depression. The more established pharmacy programs in major university settings have far more endowment, state money, alumni donors, ect. For the private schools to survive, they will have to jack their tuition to ridiculous prices that only suckers will want to pay. I am still amazed that so many people desire to go to schools with annual tuition exceeding $50,000. I was lucky enough to get into a state school-- so I count my blessings.

In a worst case scenario, government loan backed money will be much harder to come by-- and the government could be much more selective with the schools it gives its federal dollars. Market pressure will weed out the weak links in both the market and the educational system.

We are the lucky ones. What other degree has much of a bright future right now? Healthcare is one of the last bastion's of the job sector right now. What college majors are any good anymore? Engineering, chemistry, biology? Even most graduate degrees are not that safe unless you are the cream of the crop. MDs feel tremendous pressure to get a decent job in their specialty field and pay their loans off.

At least we can say that we will all get a job right now in pharmacy. Pharmacy is also rapidly trying to expand its scope of practice so that it can take more of a community role.

The seniors, the aging population, the 50% of us with chronic disease aren't going away anytime soon. Our population is not shrinking. Pharmacists will always be needed. There will be growing pains, there will be greedy schools trying to make a buck, and there will may even be some paycuts-- but our opportunities are still brighter than just about any other field right now.

I can't think of too many other opportunities for myself at the moment. Law is no longer a great degree and a good number of graduates get stuck working as paralegals for a while. Starting a business is very risky and takes captial. Management jobs are getting cut left and right, so the propositions for an MBA without a great deal of business experience are not great. Engineer salaries are peanuts, and not facing a great future due to cheap foreign labor. Nurses have an average career of 7 years, and face a tremoundous amount of burnout for the difficult job they do. MDs face ever-diminishing salaries, ridiculous admission standards, awe-inspiring workweeks, and a possible hazy outlook with the possiblity of a more socialized national healthcare system-- some of the specialities still look great but how fierce is the competition to get those residencies and jobs? PTs have a ever-escalading amount of school required for their programs for an ever-diminishing amount of financial return-- insurance companies are very finicky paying for manual medicine these days.

I think pharmacy is still a great career choice. There is risk involved, but far less with many of the other degree options right now. We will probably have to work much harder in the recession years, but at least we will most likely have work. That is more than many of us can say.
 

bigpharmD

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the above post is one of the best i have ever read....too much gloom and doom around here.....
 

sanrevelle

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thank you. we don't need any more pessimism and overreaction!
 

ajh88

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Nice post MatCauthon.

Walgreens employs more than just pharmacists for one...I'd say middle managers should be worried as well. Full time employees could be cut back to part-time hours, possibly losing benefits (thus saving the company money). And quite possibly (it's already happened around here), 24 hour stores will cut their hours, thus reducing the need for an entire shift of employees.

All speculation of course, but there is more than one way for Walgreens to "save" $1 billion.
 

Quiksilver

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Pharmacy is a relatively secure position with many available jobs.
Lots of companies need to cut costs right now, not just pharmacy. Look at hospitals. Are hospitals suddenly going to cut their doctors and nurses just because they need to make budget cuts? I would imagine unnecessary cuts will be made first. Professions like PTs, OTs, and NPs and PAs will begin to feel some pressure. Professions like optometry and chiropractic have already felt the tremendous pains of an over-saturated market in a down-economy.

Companies like Walgreens will stop expanding so rapidly, but there is still a need for drugs. There are other ways to cut expenses than cutting labor. They may cut hours of pharmacists, and cut benefits, and freeze bonuses and salary hikes, but there is still going to be a need for pharmacists. Healthcare is always high in demand during recession.

Some of us won't be able to find our desired job in big cities, but there will still be jobs in small rural communities. Walmart is still begging for staff in many of their rural stores right now.

Also, if there is a glut of pharamacist positions and an ecoomic recession, many of the newly established pharmacy schools will feel tremendous pressure themselves. I would foresee many of the newer schools not being able to survive a hard recession or depression. The more established pharmacy programs in major university settings have far more endowment, state money, alumni donors, ect. For the private schools to survive, they will have to jack their tuition to ridiculous prices that only suckers will want to pay. I am still amazed that so many people desire to go to schools with annual tuition exceeding $50,000. I was lucky enough to get into a state school-- so I count my blessings.

In a worst case scenario, government loan backed money will be much harder to come by-- and the government could be much more selective with the schools it gives its federal dollars. Market pressure will weed out the weak links in both the market and the educational system.

We are the lucky ones. What other degree has much of a bright future right now? Healthcare is one of the last bastion's of the job sector right now. What college majors are any good anymore? Engineering, chemistry, biology? Even most graduate degrees are not that safe unless you are the cream of the crop. MDs feel tremendous pressure to get a decent job in their specialty field and pay their loans off.

At least we can say that we will all get a job right now in pharmacy. Pharmacy is also rapidly trying to expand its scope of practice so that it can take more of a community role.

The seniors, the aging population, the 50% of us with chronic disease aren't going away anytime soon. Our population is not shrinking. Pharmacists will always be needed. There will be growing pains, there will be greedy schools trying to make a buck, and there will may even be some paycuts-- but our opportunities are still brighter than just about any other field right now.

I can't think of too many other opportunities for myself at the moment. Law is no longer a great degree and a good number of graduates get stuck working as paralegals for a while. Starting a business is very risky and takes captial. Management jobs are getting cut left and right, so the propositions for an MBA without a great deal of business experience are not great. Engineer salaries are peanuts, and not facing a great future due to cheap foreign labor. Nurses have an average career of 7 years, and face a tremoundous amount of burnout for the difficult job they do. MDs face ever-diminishing salaries, ridiculous admission standards, awe-inspiring workweeks, and a possible hazy outlook with the possiblity of a more socialized national healthcare system-- some of the specialities still look great but how fierce is the competition to get those residencies and jobs? PTs have a ever-escalading amount of school required for their programs for an ever-diminishing amount of financial return-- insurance companies are very finicky paying for manual medicine these days.

I think pharmacy is still a great career choice. There is risk involved, but far less with many of the other degree options right now. We will probably have to work much harder in the recession years, but at least we will most likely have work. That is more than many of us can say.

best. post. ever.
YES!
Some one understands whats going on now!
 

psurocks

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wags still offering 15K sign on in Ohio, seems like they in good shape:)
 

rxlynn

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Nice post MatCauthon.

Walgreens employs more than just pharmacists for one...I'd say middle managers should be worried as well. Full time employees could be cut back to part-time hours, possibly losing benefits (thus saving the company money). And quite possibly (it's already happened around here), 24 hour stores will cut their hours, thus reducing the need for an entire shift of employees.

All speculation of course, but there is more than one way for Walgreens to "save" $1 billion.

That's a very good point about the 24 hour stores, and if I was a drug store CEO that's the very first place I would cut. I can't imagine that all those 24 hour stores and stores that stay open until midnight are actually doing enough business to justify the pharmacist and manager/cashier salaries. It's always seeme to me like the chains did their hours like that just because the other store down the street was doing it too.
 

loo

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That's a very good point about the 24 hour stores, and if I was a drug store CEO that's the very first place I would cut. I can't imagine that all those 24 hour stores and stores that stay open until midnight are actually doing enough business to justify the pharmacist and manager/cashier salaries. It's always seeme to me like the chains did their hours like that just because the other store down the street was doing it too.

I wonder if you'd still feel the same way when you graduate and start looking for a job...;)
 

crossurfingers

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That's a very good point about the 24 hour stores, and if I was a drug store CEO that's the very first place I would cut. I can't imagine that all those 24 hour stores and stores that stay open until midnight are actually doing enough business to justify the pharmacist and manager/cashier salaries. It's always seeme to me like the chains did their hours like that just because the other store down the street was doing it too.

Have you ever worked at a 24 hour store? Most of the 24 hour stores in my district, I think, are justifiably so. There's only one that comes to mind that I think doesn't have high enough numbers to warrant that much staffing. I've worked overnights, days and evenings and even with the normal amount of staff we have it's crazy. Nights may not bring in as many people as the day shift, but it's a time to catch up with all the other chores of running a pharmacy besides filling prescriptions and try to get a jump start on the next day.

What I am a bit skeptical about is the fact that there are some pharmacies out there doing 70 on a weekday that operate at regular hours. I would cut down on the stores hours there first.
 

michele_107

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If I were a student, I would just be very careful about taking any student loans. Students loans can not be forgiven, just don't blindly sign any paper they put in front of you. And be careful of any new pharmacy school that is looking to profit from blind students....
Also, look for other options besides the chains. Indys can still be profitable....

And how would you suggest I pay my $35,000 a year tuition? ;)
 

idealxcynic

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I think reading MatCauthon's post is a good example of the kind of thinking pre-pharm or 1st year pharm students have of their profession... at least until the veil is lifted.

1) No profession is immuned. It happened with engineering, then with MBAs, then with law, MDs, etc. In each one of these professions, the writing was on the wall, but people entering the profession won't believe it until it happens. It will happen to pharmacy as well. The only question is the impact. Will overall salaries go down, but every pharmacist is employed? Or will salaries stay inflated, but with a minority of pharmacists employed?

2) It's not a perfect analogy of hospitals not cutting doctors to drugstores not cutting pharmacists. The problem with pharmacists in retail is that unlike doctors in hospitals, drugstores (which are responsible for those inflated wages) are for-profit companies, not non-profits. Therefore, they have an incentive to cut wages, or reduce the workforce and increase the workload for the remaining workers, to retain profits for their shareholders.

3) The booming drug industry or aging population is not necessarily a boom for pharmacists either. Do you know what higher management in these drug stores see in pharmacists? Middle-men. Look at the chain of drugs, from production to end-user. Who manufactures the drugs? Pharmaceuticals. Who packages? Packaging companies. Who distributes? See, when it comes to distribution, many pharmacists believe they are the distributor. That is incorrect. Retail drug stores are the distributors, because they buy the drugs and sell to the public. So where does that leave pharmacists in the chain? They don't prescribe either, because the MDs do that. So where? What about labor? Pharm-techs. You can argue that pharms prevent drug interactions, counsel patients, etc., but how many do you need when they aren't a significant portion of the chain? That is the question, and I would like to see how upper management will look at pharmacists when their budget is shrinking.

4) Pharmacy schools opening. Contrary to what MatCauthon said about lower level pharmacy schools opening and collapsing during a recession, it's the opposite. When people are out of jobs or in the middle of an involuntary career change, they go back to school, whether it's to get an MBA, JD, PharmD, etc. Those schools will not fail, but they will thrive, because they will receive greater applications from people who are out of the workforce. Look at the statistics during any recession, everyone goes back to school. And they will graduate a glut of pharmacists in the next decade. If anything, more schools will open up to address the glut of applicants, like they did to MBAs, JDs, etc.

What I am saying is this... there is no golden ticket. Always consider any education or field as an investment. Sorry, but as with any financial investment, there is no such thing as a guaranteed return. Good luck!
 

ItsOverZyvox

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Pharmacy is a relatively secure position with many available jobs.
Lots of companies need to cut costs right now, not just pharmacy. Look at hospitals. Are hospitals suddenly going to cut their doctors and nurses just because they need to make budget cuts? I would imagine unnecessary cuts will be made first. Professions like PTs, OTs, and NPs and PAs will begin to feel some pressure. Professions like optometry and chiropractic have already felt the tremendous pains of an over-saturated market in a down-economy.

Companies like Walgreens will stop expanding so rapidly, but there is still a need for drugs. There are other ways to cut expenses than cutting labor. They may cut hours of pharmacists, and cut benefits, and freeze bonuses and salary hikes, but there is still going to be a need for pharmacists. Healthcare is always high in demand during recession.

For those of you who think above is a good statement, wake up.

  1. Majority of physicians are not employed by hospitals. They have privileges to practice. So, hospitals don't cut physicians but rather need them for patient admissions.
  2. Nurses get laid off from hospitals more often than you know.
  3. Labor is the first place they look to cut cost especially when volume drops.
  4. How would you like to have your hours cut? Instead of getting paid 40 hours, now you're suddenly working and getting paid for 32 hours. Your cash flow suddenly drops by 20%+. That sux.
Even during good times, as a DOP, hospital admin was alway on my butt about cutting hours and reducing labor cost. Fortunately I promised them $1 million in clinical savings as a leverage in keeping my staff in tact.
 
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