Magazine article Drug Topics

Cash Extras and Perks: How Are Pharmacists Doing?

Magazine article Drug Topics

Cash Extras and Perks: How Are Pharmacists Doing?

Article excerpt

All things considered -- base salary, bonuses, profit-sharing, and overtime -- the average employee pharmacist brings in earnings of $48,850, according to a Drug Topics and Hospital Pharmacist Report survey completed earlier this year. This is up 11% over the $43,910 reported in 1989, the last time Drug Topics conducted such a national study.

Chains lead the pack: Chain R.Ph.s reached $50,890 annually, up 10% over 1989's $46,280. Running second were hospital pharmacists, who averaged $49,360 at the start of this year, up 12.5% from two years ago, when they earned $43,890.In third place, HMO pharmacists earned $49,050. (Since this is a new category within our salary survey, comparative figures are not available.) Finally, independents; with earnings of $45,580, registered a gain of 10% over earnings of $41.550 two years ago.

Pharmacists thinking of relocating may want to consider the West. Compensation was highest for pharmacists in all practice settings in that region of the country last year. Chain pharmacists led again, with an earnings package worth $56,960, followed by hospital R.Ph.s with $54,900. Independents brought up the rear with $48,650.

The Midwest may not be the ideal area for independents and hospital R.Ph.s; they came in on the low end compensationwise at $43,520 and $46,260, respectively. Lowest earners in chain outlets were in the South, with $49,040.

These figures are based on Drug Topics, recent survey of 1,581 employee pharmacists working in retail pharmacies, hospitals, and health maintenance organizations. This study is part of a continuing series of pharmacy compensation surveys begun by Drug Topics in 1982.

Findings from the new study are being revealed in a two-part series of articles. Part 1, which apeared in Drug Topics' March 25 issue, reported on pharmacists' base salary in various practice settings. On the next few pages, we'll be analyzing pharmacists' compensation from overtime work, bonuses, and profit-sharing. We'll also take a look at specialization or certification in various areas of pharmacy, as well as membership in pharmacy unions. Working overtime: When it comes to putting in extra hours, some 53% of all pharmacists did so in the latest study. Actually, that's not much of a change in two years, when 51% put in overtime hours. Of those who worked overtime, the average pharmacist did six hours' worth a week, the same amount reported in 1989.

More chain pharmacists worked extra hours than did those in any of the other categories. P.Ph.s five percent of the chain R.Ph.s indicated that they put in at least one hour of overtime in an average week, compared with 49% of the independents and 41% of those in HMOs. Fifty one percent of hospital pharmacists rang up at least one hour of overtime in an average week.

For many pharmacists, working overtime isn't worth the effort. Some 25% of retail pharmacists got no compensation for the overtime they clocked. Hospitals are especially prone to this practice, with fully half the hospital pharmacists surveyed saying they received no overtime compensation. Close behind are the 47% of HMO pharmacists who get no pay for overtime. In the retail setting, however, among those doing over-time time work, a substantial 67% of chain pharmacists and 53% of independents received compensation for it.

Straight time seems the method of payment most preferred by employers for overtime work. That's what 40% of independents and 38% of chain pharmacists are getting, as are 20% of HMO pharmacists and 12% of hospital pharmacists. More chain pharmacists (28%) and hospital pharmacists (19%) than independents (12%) and HMO pharmacists (13%) are paid time and a half for their overtime, and a few (1%) chain R.Ph.s even get double time.

Payment in time: Giving compensatory time instead of money is most popular in HMOs -- 18% of their pharmacists who work overtime are compensated with extra time off. Comparatively few independents (5%) and chain R. …

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