Report: Supply of pharmacists outnumbers jobs

March 8, 2016

If you're after a job in pharmacy, you might want to take a look at Alaska, Arkansas, or Louisiana.

The nationwide supply of pharmacists has exceeded the number of available jobs, according to a monthly analysis by the Pharmacy Workforce Center (PWC).

PWC’s analysis found an Aggregate Demand Index (ADI) of 2.96 for November 2015, which was down from October 2015 (3.43) and down from November 2014 (3.40).

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An ADI below 3 indicates more pharmacists than available jobs, while an ADI above 3 indicates more jobs than available pharmacists. The report revealed that more than half of the United States had a surplus of pharmacists in November 2015.

Lynette R. Bradley-Baker, PWC’s vice president, said the ADI can vary from month to month based on the number of panelists across the country reporting data. She cautioned against drawing conclusions based on one month’s report.

“You really need two or three data points to establish a trend,” Bradley-Baker told Drug Topics. “What we can say is that the number was below three and that does indicate more pharmacists than available jobs.”

Oversupply and a possible solution

Ronald G. Cameron, CEO, Cameron and Co. Inc. (The Pharmacists Registry), the Las Vegas-based firm that fills temporary pharmacist placements, attributed the oversupply to too many pharmacy schools graduating too many new pharmacists.

 

“I have definitely seen the trend toward the oversupply of pharmacists,” Cameron told Drug Topics.

He said a partial solution to the oversupply would be for Congress to pass legislation authorizing provider status for pharmacists.

“Once that happens, and the pharmacist is recognized as the true drug expert, some of this oversupply will be alleviated,” Cameron said. “Not all of it.”

Dan Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University’s director of faculty development, urged pharmacy advocacy groups to speak out against new or expanding pharmacy-school programs.

“What is most needed at this time is a statement from all pharmacy organizations that it is time for academic growth to cease,” Brown said. “No one has the authority to mandate such a policy, but if pharmacy leaders were to express such an opinion resolutely, it might dissuade universities from initiating new PharmD programs or expanding existing programs.”

 

Geographical odds

The November report revealed that the South (3.19) and the West regions (3.24) of the country had unmet demands for pharmacists. However, the Northeast and the Midwest did not fare so well.

 

“The Midwest and Northeast average ratings reflected somewhat of a surplus at 2.77 and 2.32, respectively,” the report stated.

According to the report, the states with the highest demand for pharmacists were Alaska (4.75), Arkansas (4.20), and Louisiana (4.14).

The states with the lowest demand for pharmacists were Massachusetts (1.75), Hawaii and New York (2.0), and Connecticut (2.33), Iowa (2.33), New Jersey (2.33), North Dakota (2.33), and Virginia (2.33).

The December 2015 ADI report has not yet been released.

See also: Too many pharmacy schools? One dean says no