Pharmacists Close in on the Medical Pyramid

Article

More than four decades ago, I took my first job as a Registered Pharmacist. I worked a 48-hour week and was paid $7,000 a year. In the 21st Century, brand new baby Registered Pharmacists earn a starting wage of more than $100,000 annually.

More than four decades ago, I took my first job as a Registered Pharmacist. I worked a 48-hour week and was paid $7,000 a year. In the 21st Century, brand new baby Registered Pharmacists earn a starting wage of more than $100,000 annually. Salaries will continue to increase over 22.3% faster than the average for other professions.

I had to tell you that because my chosen profession was close to being the armpit of the medical professions when I started. We were well-trained for the era, but we weren’t allowed to do anything. Around 1970, I warned a patient that she better not drink milk or eat cottage cheese close to her tetracycline dose. Upon learning this, her doctor was all over me.

“What do you think you are? A doctor?”

“I know what I am and I know that calcium containing foods or supplements will interfere with the tetracycline.”

“Just stay in your place,” he warned.

“I am in my place,” I challenged and we almost had a fight.

And the place where I have stayed has transformed dramatically in 40 years. Pharmacists have a better place now and make a good wage because there aren’t enough of us and there aren’t enough schools. If they built them, would they come?

Pharmacists are getting closer to the top of the medical pyramid not because the pyramid is flattening (and it is) but because they are competent clinicians.

Pharmacy is a profession in transition. Many pharmacists, especially the younger ones, don’t even fill prescriptions anymore.

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