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Voices 11-15-2013


Drug Topics readers have their say.

Sign of the times

Yesterday my hospital group laid off four of our total of 27 pharmacists, who covered two hospitals and two ambulatory clinics, and cut another pharmacist to 20 hours. Three of the four laid off were RPhs. 


Out of the 22 pharmacists we have left, one is an informatics resource, one is the director, and two are operations managers for our two hospital campuses. We have 4.5 FTE of full-time clinical and the rest are staff.


Official word is that this is due to the ACA and decreasing revenues. The bigger issue, I think, is uncompensated care. Indiana has its own issues on that; the decision not to expand Medicaid to cover low-income uninsured, as with many other states, is really putting the squeeze on hospitals. They are required by law to treat everyone and most of the time they cannot collect.


This is the first time I have seen a targeted reduction in force of pharmacists. We have eliminated positions by attrition before, but there never were actual layoffs. In numbers, we represented 15% of the total number of jobs eliminated.


Add to this the fact that a few months ago, the position held at an Indianapolis hospital by the president of the Indiana Board of Pharmacy was eliminated. This would have been unheard of a few years ago.


James “Goose” Rawlings, RPh

Drug Topics contributor


Seen at DrugTopics.com

Related to the subject of layoffs are the questions of pharmacist glut, dwindling employment opportunities, and pharmacy school responsibility. Here are some of the comments received in response to “Do new pharmacists face a joblessness crisis?” which was posted at the Drug Topics website October 21.


No one wants to pay

Direct patient care does not generate any direct income (sales, etc.) and actually takes away from prescription time. That is all that corporate sees. 


The value added and resultant loyalty (cannot put a price on that) and increased sales (much indirect, referrals etc.) - forget it, they will never see it. That is why these services that academia sees as so necessary are not growing. Even in hospital pharmacy. 


There are many nice and wonderful things that can be done, it’s just that nobody wants to pay us for them. Your department gets no more budget, and you can deduce the rest. 


Graduate backfire

The pharmacy schools don’t care who gets a job as long as they have enrollment. It is a money-making process that backfires on the graduate. 


Now all I have is a BS, and I can’t get a job. I was fired five years ago; job openings now require a PharmD, making my education obsolete. 


People told me while I was in pharmacy school that I would always have a job. I don’t know whom to blame for the oversupply, but someone needs to be accountable. 


The pharmacy schools need to be sued. 


Cut back? Or kill the goose?

Academia has always been the bane of clinical pharmacists. The PharmD degree never should have been an entry-level program, but the allure of an extra year of tuition from all students was too much to pass up. 


It will be interesting to see whether programs will cut back on the number of admissions they allow or will kill the goose that laid the golden egg and let the rest of us suffer.


A lost art

All of the schools are churning out pharmacists. But the ART is being lost to the $$$$. 


More supply, less dough

This article does not address the resultant negative impact on salaries due to more supply than demand. 



In the September Continuing Pharmacy Education article, “MTM considerations in osteoporosis care: Pathophysiology, screening, and prevention strategies,” an error appeared on page 43. The following statement was incorrect: “Calcitonin prevents bone breakdown by inactivating osteoblasts.” It should have stated that calcitonin prevents bone breakdown by inactivating osteoclasts. Drug Topics regrets the error.

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