Pharmacists & the Aggregate Demand Index

February 2, 2013 • Pharmacy Careers • Views: 11451

Got work?

For some pharmacists, the answer is becoming increasingly:  “no.”  Of course, it depends a lot on where you live. 


As someone concerned about the profession of pharmacy and patient wellness, the supply/demand for pharmacists is an important tool for assessing our situation.  When the supply of pharmacists begin to exceed the demand, certain bad things begin to happen.  Employers are tempted to institute business practices which emphasize profits (e.g. cutting supportive staffing) above patient safety.  Pharmacists end up stuck working in jobs which sacrifice excellent pharmaceutical care on the altar of better bottom lines for the boss.  However, when demand for pharmacists increases, professionals can choose to leave such working situations and seek employment elsewhere – thereby discouraging such unethical staffing situations.

Right now, New England is in the worst situation nationally.  The following chart is from The Manpower Project.  A “Demand Index” below 3.0 means that pharmacists are in a “surplus” situation and jobs may be hard to find:



I could spend a lot of time talking about why the situation is getting increasingly difficult for pharmacists in Massachusetts in particular.  To put it bluntly –  the organizations who profit most from a pharmacist surplus (e.g. Schools of Pharmacy & Chain pharmacies) have a very high representation on our Boards of Pharmacy and Pharmacy Associations.  They’re running the game folks – and the odds are never in our favor. 

Massachusetts has opened yet ANOTHER school of pharmacy (Western New England College of Pharmacy).  That makes 4 in a relatively small state.  This new school, in my opinion, is going to even further destroy the profession in our area.   

My advice?

Check out the demand for pharmacists in your state AT THIS LINK

The ADI is a metric that basically assesses the need for pharmacists.  A “5” is a HIGH demand for pharmacists.  A “1” is a LOW demand for pharmacists.  A “3” is considered a balanced situation. 

If you live in a state in which the AGI (Aggregate Demand Index) is below 3 – you need to be actively addressing the situation.  Write letters to your Board of Pharmacy and state pharmacy association.  A situation with a surplus of pharmacists puts patients at risk – because, quite simply, employers know you are stuck.  They can cut staffing, increase demand for absurd & unprofessional practices, all the while knowing you cannot leave. 

The profession is yours.  Take it or leave it.  For me, I will continue to work toward a balanced supply/demand which puts the best interest of patients and the profession first. 


Author: Jason Poquette

8 Responses to Pharmacists & the Aggregate Demand Index

  1. Pharmacy Gal says:

    The magic number mostly likely dips below “3” if you happen to live near one of the new pharmacy colleges too. Just where did that shortage go?

    • jasonpoquette says:

      Yes, I am sure you are right. Shortages – which these new schools of pharmacy claim to see everywhere – are the pharmacy equivalent to the Emperor’s new clothes…

  2. nanoi says:

    The Man Power Project, which purports to cover pharmacy demand is managed by Dr. Maine, the CEO of the organization of pharmacy colleges, hence the conflict of interest is massive and the whole Man Power Project is discredited. It is biased in favor of schools, and hence employers.

    • jasonpoquette says:

      Hi nanoi,
      I have personally interacted with Dr. Knapp, who is responsible for the data in the AGI. I believe it is as close to accurate as is reasonably possible (it could never be perfect). It is much better, IMO, than the Dept of Labor statistics which show a huge demand for pharmacists over the next 10 years. The AGI correctly identifies areas of surplus already, like MA where I live and can personally vouch for the truth of that aspect of their information. Thanks for reading!

      • nanoi says:

        Congratulations on defending your academic acquaintance. The BLS uses five year old data. The powers that be in pharmacy created a bubble that radically altered the trends since that time. What is your, and Dr. Knapp’s excuse? In states with single digit openings, a high 2 is being recorded. What is your methodology.

  3. Jenny says:

    I for one am sick of walking into a pharmacy and seeing a 23 yr old girl clowning around only to find out that she is the pharmacist! What is with all the young women as pharmacists? Where are all the middle aged men who actually took their job serious and were intelligent? Now I have to get some kid’s attention and try to get her to take her headphones off so I can ask her a question.
    I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be taking advice from someone whose brain probably hasn’t even stopped developing yet.

    • RxCustomer says:

      Wow. That’s sexist. And age-descriminatory. Good luck with that.

    • William Wilkerson says:

      I honestly cant tell if you’re being serious. That is the most uninformed, sexist and ridiculous thing i’ve ever read. When you say “I for one” you don’t realize how true that statement really is. You stand alone on your mountain of ignorance and bigotry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *