Believe it or not, in the late 1990’s, a nationwide pharmacist shortage developed…
Why? New medications and drug therapies came on the scene, alternative uses for existing medications were discovered, authorized prescribers increased, and broader insurance coverage became available. It came as no surprise that advances in the pharmaceutical industry generated a high demand for pharmacists.
Since the 90’s, the number of pharmacists has grown substantially; it has also evolved into a multi-purpose position essential for the growing health care industry. As a result of the rising number of pharmacy schools, the expanding roles of pharmacy professionals, and one constant variable—an aging population—pharmacists are now the third largest health professional group in the U.S.1 …and still growing.
FUN FACT: The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 2010 and 2020, the total number of pharmacists in the U.S. will increase by 25%, and again by 35% by 2030.1
So, let’s chat and chew about the role of a pharmacist and their impact on the health care system.
If you are part of the 84% of adults that visits a pharmacy every year2, you know pharmacists are well past the days of solely administering medication(s). Nowadays, pharmacists are considered the most readily accessible group of health care professionals3. They help patients directly with health-related matters, as well as provide services such as vaccinations, screenings, and clinics. Pharmacists also utilize digital enhancements like electronic prescriptions, and have access to state-of-the-art technology (check out ScriptPro’s Robotic Prescription Dispensing Systems), to fill prescriptions with greater accuracy.
“We are bringing our pharmacists out from behind the counter so you can get the expertise you need to feel a little more healthy.” – Gregory Wasson, CEO of Walgreens4
Pharmacists don’t just play a key leadership role within the health care system; they have proven to be worthy within the local community as well. See below for a look at why pharmacists are vital to our health and community.
Pharmacists have a detailed understanding of drugs and are more than willing to provide assistance when needed. Next time you have questions about your medications, skip the Google search and call your local pharmacy. For a simple cold, avoid the co-pay and consult a pharmacist for over-the-counter remedies. Don’t worry—they’ll tell you when it’s time to call the doctor.
- University of California, “An Era Of Growth And Change: A Closer Look At Pharmacy Education And Practice”
- National Pharmacy Association / Pharmacy Facts
- American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP)
- PM360 Magazine
- Wikipedia / Pharmacogenomics