Pharmacists & the Aggregate Demand Index

February 2, 2013 • Pharmacy Careers • Views: 12130

Got work?

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

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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:

 

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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. 

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Author: Jason Poquette

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