Magazine article Drug Topics

Fewer Pharmacies out There, NABP Survey Shows

Magazine article Drug Topics

Fewer Pharmacies out There, NABP Survey Shows

Article excerpt

For the first time in several years, the national pharmacy ranks thinned last year, when about 1,700 fewer operating licenses were in force, according to the latest annual head count from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).

A total of 72,067 pharmacies were licensed by the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico as of last June 30, according to NABP's 1999-2000 Survey of Pharmacy Law. The previous year, there were 73,756 licensed pharmacies. Eighteen state boards reported that pharmacy licensure dropped. Among the states with the sharpest declines were Maryland, which reported 1,093 fewer pharmacy licenses; California, which dropped 478 licenses; and Louisiana, where there were 173 fewer licenses. Although 23 boards reported only modest increases in pharmacy counts, Florida gained 48 more pharmacies, while Wyoming reported that 22 of its additional 164 licenses were for out-of state nonresident pharmacies.

In the midst of a perceived pharmacist shortage, the total number of pharmacist licenses dipped by 55, to 331,212. However, that number is misleading because many pharmacists hold licenses in more than one state. A more accurate estimate of the total licensed R.Ph. population is 206,002, with in-state addresses up 4,412 from the previous year. Having an address in a particular state is an indication of where the pharmacist most likely practices, as opposed to where he or she is merely licensed. However, six jurisdictions, including Georgia, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, did not indicate how many of their licensees have in-state addresses, which could thus overstate the pharmacist supply.

Following the money trail revealed that five states charged pharmacists more for their initial certificates. Missouri and New Jersey both boosted the initial fee from zero to $140, while Indiana jumped from zero to $25. Montana raised its $60 fee to $100, and New Mexico went from $20 to $100. California and Vermont actually charged less than the year before. The initial fees charged now range from zero in 14 jurisdictions to $360 in Wisconsin. License renewal was also more expensive in two states, as Kentucky and West Vrginia both tacked another $20 onto their renewal fees. On the other hand, California's fee dropped by $35 to $115; Colorado lopped $52 off its $250 renewal fee; and Kansas dropped from $200 to $150. …

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