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Pharmacists represent the third largest health professional group in the U.S. With a Bachelor degree in Pharmacy (B Pharm), some pharmacists work in non-patient care settings as well (e.g., teaching, research, and administration).
“Whether in hospital, retail or public health sector, pharmacists play an important role in counselling patients, reducing medication errors and providing assistance with accuracy. The role of pharmacists is thus far greater than simply filling and dispensing prescribed medications. A forecast report from American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) says that there will be a shortfall of as many as 157,000 pharmacists by 2020”.
The subject of pharmacy has evolved as a multidisciplinary curriculum with the emergence of the concept of “global healthcare”. The growth of patient care responsibilities has created the need to study pharmacy programs to research disease process, acquire Pharmacotherapy knowledge and to improve patient monitoring skills.
Medications and drug therapies, identification of new uses for existing medications, increased numbers of authorized prescribers, increased affordability and availability of more generic drugs and more.
Not surprisingly, this growth generated a demand for pharmacists in hospitals and clinics, as well as in retail, government, and academic settings. Because growth of the workforce had not kept pace with the demand for services – due in part to the lack of growth in educational opportunities for many years – a nationwide pharmacist shortage developed in the late 1990s.
No matter where in the country a young pharmacist wanted to settle down, the number of jobs available far exceeded the number of people qualified to fill them.