A pharmacist in a pharmacy

NCPA: Community pharmacies facing drug, staff shortages

The latest NCPA survey finds that several drugs and pharmacy techs are in high demand at independent pharmacies.

A new survey released by the National Community Pharmacists Association indicates that many independent community pharmacies are experiencing ongoing drug shortage issues and difficulty filling open staff positions.

The survey continues NCPA’s efforts to provide context on staffing concerns, supply chain issues, inflation or other economic pressures its members are facing.

Ninety-three percent of independent community pharmacy owners/managers responding to the survey say they are dealing with a shortage in children’s pain and fever relief medicine; 85% report a shortage of diabetes medicine; and 80% say they are experiencing shortages of amoxicillin. Additionally, 97% say they are experiencing a shortage of Adderall. The Adderall shortage seems to be intensifying. Surveys from October (89%) and the previous summer (64%) found the drug in short supply, but not as scarce as it is currently.

[Read more: CVS, Walmart cutting pharmacy operation hours amid pharmacist shortage]

When it comes to labor issues, the survey finds that pharmacy technicians continue to be in highest demand (80%) among those responding, followed by clerks/front end staff (43%), pharmacists (19%), and delivery drivers (17%). Sixty-seven percent overall report having a difficult time filling open staff positions, a slight decrease from previous surveys.

“Independent pharmacy owners typically have more flexibility than chain pharmacies when it comes to personnel. They can offer more flexible hours and more attractive working conditions, for example. But unlike small businesses in other industries, they can’t easily raise prices to cover rising costs because PBMs and big insurance companies dictate prescription drug pricing,” said NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey. “Unfortunately, these ongoing pressures with the supply chain, PBMs, and our economy continue to make it a challenging time for the very pharmacies who, for so many patients, are the most accessible health care option. Policymakers must not only keep this in mind, but work to advance pharmacy payment reforms that will better support pharmacy teams and the patients they serve.”

[Read more: CVS using technology to fill prescriptions remotely]

The NCPA survey was conducted from Jan. 23 to 30, 2023. It was sent to approximately 8,000 independent pharmacy owners and managers, with approximately 330 responding. 

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds