Magazine article Drug Topics

Federal Aid for Pharmacy Education Pending in Congress

Magazine article Drug Topics

Federal Aid for Pharmacy Education Pending in Congress

Article excerpt

Legislation aimed at increasing the ranks of pharmacy graduates is now on Congress' agenda. Ten lawmakers, led by Reps. James McGovern (D, Mass.) and Mike Simpson (R, Idaho), are pushing a bill that would authorize federal funding to pharmacy students, faculties, and schools.

Two years ago, a McGovern initiative resulted in the first federal study to document the extent of the pharmacist workforce shortage. It found that the number of full-time and part-time vacancies in community pharmacies had jumped from about 2,700 in February 1998 to nearly 7,000 by February 2000.

The report by the Health Resources & Services Administration cited a rapid increase in demand for pharmacists "coupled with a constrained ability to increase the supply" and warned: "The factors causing the current shortage are of a nature not likely to abate in the near future without fundamental changes in pharmacy practice and education."

To address those concerns, H.R. 2173, dubbed PharmAid, would provide scholarships and loan forgiveness and require most students to repay the federal government by practicing or teaching in medically underserved areas or in hospitals. …

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