New pharmacist supply projections: Lower separation rates and increased graduates boost supply estimates

Knapp, Katherine K.; Cultice, James M.
July 2007
Journal of the American Pharmacists Association: JAPhA;Jul/Aug2007, Vol. 47 Issue 4, p463
Academic Journal
Objective: To revise the 2000 Bureau of Health Professions Pharmacist Supply Model based on new data. Design: Stock-flow model. Setting: United States. Participants: A 2004 estimate of active pharmacists reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was used to derive the base count for the 2007 supply model. Interventions: Starting with a 2004 base of active pharmacists, new graduates are added to the supply annually and losses resulting from death and retirement are subtracted. Main outcome measures: Age- and gender-based pharmacist supply estimates, 2004-2020 Results: Increased U.S. pharmacist supply estimates (236,227 in 2007 to 304,986 in 2020) indicate that pharmacists will remain the third largest professional health group behind nurses and physicians. Increases were driven by longer persistence in the workforce (59%), increased numbers of U.S. graduates (35%), and increases from international pharmacy graduates (IPGs) achieving U.S. Iicensure (6%). Since more pharmacists are expected to be working part time the full-time equivalent (FTE) supply will be reduced by about 15%. The mean age of pharmacists was projected to decline from 47 to 43 by 2020. Because of unequal distribution across age groups, large pharmacist cohorts approaching retirement age will result in fewer pharmacists available to replace them. The ratio of pharmacists to the over-65 population is expected to decrease after 2011 and continue to fall beyond 2020; this is likely a reflection of baby boomers passing through older age cohorts. Conclusion: The revised estimated active U.S. pharmacist head count in 2006 is 232,597, with equivalent FTEs totaling approximately 198,000. The substantial increase over the 2000 pharmacist supply model estimates is primarily attributable to pharmacists remaining in the workforce longer and educational expansion. U.S. licensed IPGs account for less than 6% of overall increases. The pharmacist workforce is projected to become younger on average by about 4 years by 2020. Coincident demands for more physicians and nurses over the same period and shortages in all three professions stipulate that active steps be taken, including continued monitoring of work trends among pharmacists and other health professionals.


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