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NCPA: Labor woes lead to longer wait times

NCPA: Labor woes lead to longer wait times

Doug HoeyALEXANDRIA, Va. – More than three-quarters of community pharmacists say they are having a tough time filling open positions, resulting in higher payroll costs and longer wait times for patients, according to a new survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association.  

“Community pharmacies are small businesses, and even though they are affected by the same tough conditions that are battering the rest of Main Street, the biggest threat to their ability to continue to provide health care for consumers — by far — is from the heavy-handed business tactics of insurance-owned PBMs,” said B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, NCPA CEO. 

The result on labor conditions is barely changed from previous NCPA surveys, when roughly 79% and 70% of community pharmacists, respectively, said they were struggling to find workers. This year and last year, applicants for pharmacy technicians are in short supply: More than 88% of respondents this year said finding pharmacy techs was their No. 1 problem, followed by front-end staff at 56%.  

Roughly 73% of respondents say they’re dealing with the labor shortage by offering higher wages and benefits. Fifty-four percent say fewer hands means it’s taking longer to fill patient prescriptions.  

An overwhelming majority (93%) of community pharmacists say inflation is affecting their businesses. Unlike most other small businesses, which can pass on higher costs to consumers in the form of higher prices, pharmacies can’t raise prices on medicines because health insurance companies dictate the pricing.  

“The cost of drugs is determined by big insurance companies and their pharmacy benefit managers,” said Hoey. “They decide how much pharmacies will be reimbursed for the prescriptions they dispense, and how much patients will pay for the drugs. Pharmacy reimbursements for most drugs is going down.”


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