Pharmacist numbers growing: International Pharmaceutical Federation

pharmacy graduates - empty chairs in a lecture theatre

The number of pharmacists per 10,000 population has grown around the world, according to a new report from the International Pharmaceutical Federation Education Initiative.

The publication, “Global pharmacy workforce intelligence: Trends report”, was released at the 75th World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

It is the fourth in a series of workforce reports produced every three years and contains a trend analysis of the three previous reports (2006, 2009, 2012), which covers 51 countries.

“It is important to monitor the global pharmacy workforce so that we can make informed decisions on how best to use our pharmacists,” says Ian Bates, Director of the FIPEd Development Team.

“There is still a need for more pharmacists; low- and middle-income countries still have very low density compared with high-income countries. In particular, the increases we have seen may not be keeping pace with shifts in disease burden.”

Christopher John, Director of the FIP-RPS Global Workforce Observatory, a joint project with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in the United Kingdom, says “The overall growth we have found reflects positive changes in policy and capacity building to facilitate extended roles, and a shift in focus in pharmacy to patients.

“Pharmaceutical service development and new scope and roles for clinical pharmacy implies increased demand on the pharmacy workforce worldwide.”

Not all countries, however, have seen an increase in pharmacists. Three of the 51 countries have experienced a decrease in workforce capacity of pharmacists.

“It is of interest to find out what is happening in those countries that is eroding pharmacist capacity. Decreases could be related to net migration,” Prof Bates says.

He added that further work is under way to identify these workforce influences.

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