‘Beady greedy eyes of pharmacy owners’ – What you said

Two days ago, we reported on the PSA16 panel session examining pay rates for pharmacists, which PSA CEO Lance Emerson called “the single largest issue facing the profession in community pharmacy”.

If the strength of your response is anything to go by, he’s right: it’s a massive issue causing concern industry-wide.

The reaction to our story was almost unanimous: pharmacists aren’t getting paid enough, and there’s enormous pessimism about the future of the profession.

“A pharmacy graduate with a $20,000 education bill will never be able to pay it off, raise a family, buy a safe car and a house on the current pharmacists’ wage,” said David Haworth.

“And every day they are asked to complete more new programs and services and told they must lift their game to compete.”

Reader JennyT said that the King review is “The best thing that could have happened to pharmacy.

“The younger ones should embrace and seek change or they will be the ones ending up with a dead end career. Not the fat cats who made their money during the golden era and are laughing to their banks to collect their paycheck.”

Pharmacy Specialist told us that after selling their pharmacy, they expected to be able to work as an emergency locum for $50 an hour, but found bookings slow and becoming more remote, so completed an executive MBA, hoping to offer their services in pharmacy.

“What I found was that pharmacy is replete with arrogant owners, abusing their staff verbally and psychologically, dispersed across a framework of no-profit and no-answer,” they wrote.

“I was shocked at how the actual problems of staff retention, skill base utilisation and diversification metrics were so profoundly underperforming that no one would work in pharmacy if they hadn’t already invested decades of their lives into it.”

United We Stand pointed out that “In Western Sydney locum pharmacists are doing it for $32/hr. It’s ridiculous.

“Lol at Guild President George Tambassis saying wages aren’t great but the focus should be on a strong pharmacy model. Tony Abbott just found his long lost brother.”


Go west

As for heading out of the major cities to find well-paying work, John said that he had “no sympathy” for those who didn’t want to do so, as there is “Plenty of opportunity for better remuneration if they search outside.”

But BJ replied that “that old chestnut of going rural needs to be buried”.

“You shouldn’t be expected to go rural to find a job as a professional – that is ridiculous,” they said.

And BS said that “I’ve even been to Outback Northern Queensland and overseas-trained pharmacists have already made their way there – the supply is met.

“I don’t think anybody in their right minds would consider any profession a ‘good’ career choice if said career can only take off by uprooting to the boondocks.”


Expanding horizons

Kevin Hayward said that “Pharmacists might want to consider broadening their professional scope.

“I won a higher research degree scholarship and became a GP practice pharmacist. Currently I work part time as a HMR pharmacist,” he wrote.

“With the money from the sale of my pharmacy, and, the skills I gained running my business I was able to set up a successful property business.”

Reader Bakassi, a pharmacist from Africa who is currently studying in Australia, says that what they see in Australian pharmacies is “saddening. Pharmacists are always looking tired and unhappy”.

In their home country, “job opportunities are not limited to community or hospital pharmacy,” Bakassi writes.

“Jobs like medical representative are readily available from pharm companies. Most of the multinationals like GSK, Pfizer etc will not employ you back home if you’re not a pharmacist and these employment are permanent, good salary and allowances.

“I’m surprised it’s not like that here.”

And Ex Pharmacist suggested following their own lead and getting out of pharmacy entirely.

“I see no empathy towards the non-owner pharmacists who pretty much run the cogs and wheels for the pharmacy owners,” they wrote.

“I remember the beady greedy eyes of pharmacy owners that demanded more generic conversions, more “free” SMS reminder sign ups, more Interventions, more Med Checks, it’s ridiculous… at the end of the day, you have no time to provide customer experience or clinical value because you’re being treated as an expensive shop girl.”


Read the original story here: ‘Is there are pharmacy wage crisis?’

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  1. NoMoreForMe

    Nice to see some real opinions coming out.
    I was working 40 hrs/week but did way more than a few part timers who got paid more. I had to solve their issues and their… Communication.. Problems yet made less $ an hour!
    Saved 2 people’s lives with cpr, when bosses froze but just got given more responsibilities and told to get more sms.
    Customers loved me and brought me food and came to us to see me, yet my scripts on file requests weren’t high enough ever… Even though bosses didn’t request.

    No idea how to change it. It’s a biased and controlled industry full of owners who made their cash long ago and new owners who are struggling to meet demands.
    Finally there’s the swamp of pharmacists begging for jobs and decent pay.
    I have admin friends who can’t use computers well and have no tertiary qualifications that get paid more.
    How is the fair?

  2. Not Happy

    I feel like we are in a failing industry, a lot if my friends have jumped ship before the boat sinks further, pretty depressing to be honest. The wages are atrociously bad

  3. Sad State of Pharmacy

    Never have I once recommended anyone to do pharmacy. Every parent with kids in year 12 that come up to me to seek advice on pharmacy as a possible future career choice, I would always advise against it at all cost, if i had known i would have not chosen pharmacy as well. Seriously, 5 years of University study (including internship) to land a job that pays no more than a job at a supermarket with far less responsibilities. The owners only look at their profits and push us beyond our limits, employ minimum staff that can’t even cope with the work load and be grumpy when you enquire about pay rises.

    Pharmacy is in an extremely sad state and I would not wish it on anyone.

  4. United we stand

    I’m in the process of leaving Pharmacy as we speak. Done 2 job interviews already.
    Worked so hard for 12 years and never got a payrise or acknowledgement from management or owners.
    One owner told me “there are pharmacists lining up outside the shop willing to work at any rate. You already earn well above the minimum wage!”
    Pharmacists are finally waking up and becoming increasingly vocal. But its too late guys. PPA failed at even trying to enforce a safe workload limit for pharmacists. Wages are still crappy. Working conditions are third world. Expectations from us has reached the stratosphere. And we reach into our own pockets to do the Vaccination training to make money for our fat cat bosses.
    I’m done. Walk away and watch the fire rise from the distant before you’re too old to enter a new field.

    • Jamie_Mathews

      The PPA is the crappiest Union, they can’t even organise a strike! Maybe if they did – we might be in a different situation.

      I’m changing industries aswell! if it means additional study or training so be it. I rather be a carpenter who gets paid 5-10K per new house only on the frames ( usually takes one week)! Mind me building new stairs for house cost roughly 10-15K ( I have a few friends that finish a stairwell in 2 days and make a profit of 10K).

      Shelf stackers get paid better! we are supposedly entitled to only a four boxed shop that sells homeopathic rubbish to make some greedy person wealthier doesn’t get us remunerated ‘fairly’! Those in their ivory towers – should just be quiet! We are sick of the likes of you determining our future!

      Its such a sad state!

      • Amandarose

        A union is only as powerful as its members- the more that join the more power they have. It is difficult to have an effective strike with low membership.
        Now they offer cpd and insurance in the cost so I find it value for money.

  5. Rex

    The government wants to eliminate pharmacy as a job that can be classed as a ‘profession’. Sooner or later, the ridiculous queues of students studying pharmacy, will dry up. Despite the 30000 pharmacists on the register, fewer are actually working as pharmacists every year. Eventually the ones who are out of pharmacy, will not bother to renew their registration. There won’t be any pharmacists coming through. At that point the government will have an excuse to strip away the fig leaf that is the 5-plus years of training, and ongoing CPD etc, required to be a pharmacist. And at that point, pharmacy will be reduced to what it is in most countries already – the job of box-labeller or box-seller, with minimal or no qualification. I just hope that happens after I retire from it, because I am too old to retrain now, and too old to be employed as a new-by in something else if I did.

  6. CWH#1

    Chemist Warehouse is the number one pharmacy operator by a long shot in Australia. Pseudo-discounters and other groups cannot compare. CWH always have the latest products, the best range and the cheapest prices. Where other pharmacies try to match their prices it will only ever be temporary and that is NOT what customers want. They want the lowest price everyday all day. Plus their head office management is supreme. I have had experience with many and nothing beats the organisational capability and strategic decision-making by their experienced team. They are always one step ahead in practically all areas. I could go on but their strengths significantly outweight their weaknesses in the marketplace.

    Owners of non-CWH pharmacies: check your net in-store pricing on a line that you or your head office are trying to match CWH with. As its cold and flu season try some Codral or Bisolvon. I’d wager you won’t be making anywhere near what CWH makes at your discounted price and hence you won’t even be making enough to cover your costs of spending time recommending it! I cannot believe some pharmacy chains insist on pricing so low in order to attract customers that come in and only buy that one thing. Those that shop on price do just that – they are never loyal!

    In fact owning a CWH store now is probably the most secure position to be in given what is happening to the industry. STRONG F.O.S. T/O (ie >50%) is what it’s all about. Unless you have a pharmacy that is distanced sufficiently from a CWH and has solid ranging AND reasonable pricing AND SQM area then your FOS will never come close. The rest will have to hope that adequately reimbursed professional services gives some semblance of remuneration!

    • United we stand

      I love Chemist warehouse too. There is a ton of vitamins and perfumes everywhere you look. Every Isle is manned by 1- 2 assistants. They are always so helpful. There is at least one very knowledgeable senior pharmacist available to consult you on your prescription queries. Waiting times are non-existent. Staff seem so friendly and happy to be there. There isn’t a security guard at the door eyeing you down with every step you take or the hypnotising advertisements being played on a loop through shop speakers.

      CWH for the win ?

      • CWH#1

        CWH is better than a lot of the competition give them credit for. I keep hearing various owners and their representatives downplay CWH and often finding fault. I keep hearing them criticise CWH for lack of service, lack of training and questionable ethics. But you know what, I reckon they are ahead of many pharmacies on these aspects. At least the public are flocking to them as their go to pharmacy. You just have to read various forums on the net. CWH is THE pharmacy name to know in Australia.

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