Plus, the latest pharmacy and healthcare news to know this week.
Pharmacy staff faced heavier workloads last year, according to the 2019 National Pharmacist Workforce Study. The report, which was released earlier this year, found that 69% of pharmacists indicated that their workloads had “increased” or “greatly increased” compared to 2018.
Why It Matters
According to Drug Topics, 71% of practicing pharmacists who participated in the study rated their workloads as “high” or “excessively high” in 2019, up from 66% in 2014. The majority of this group worked in chain (91%) and mass merchandiser (88%) settings. Only 48% of independent community pharmacists and 57% of ambulatory care pharmacists reported the same.
The findings of the study are important as pharmacists look to take on an expanded role amid the COVID-19 health crisis. In many communities, pharmacists are the only easily accessible healthcare provider, making their presence indispensable. Plus, with many states granting pharmacists broader authority to provide more clinical services, maintaining a delicate balance to prevent burnout is essential.
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In addition to insight into the pharmacist workload, the study also noted some improvements in diversity. Last year, women made up nearly two-thirds of the pharmacy profession, up from 46% in 2009. Women also filled about 59% of management positions in 2019. The percentage of non-white pharmacists also grew from 14.9% in 2014 to 21.8% in 2019. Despite this, about 31% of pharmacists reported facing discrimination due to age, gender, or race or ethnicity.
Other healthcare news to know:
1. Eighty-eight Medicare Advantage and Part D plan sponsors have applied to lower insulin costs for the 2021 plan year, says CMS. Fierce Healthcare.
2. As protests continue across the U.S., CDC director Robert Redfield is encouraging protestors to get tested for COVID-19. Reuters.
3. A new brief from McKinsey & Company estimates that up to $250 billion in healthcare spending could be digitized. Healthcare Dive.
4. Wholesale prices for brand-name drugs grew 2.3% in Q1, down from a 3.2% increase during the same time period last year. STAT.
5. This week, Scott Knoer took over as CEO and Executive Vice President of the American Pharmacists Association. APhA.