OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) Some pharmacists and industry groups say they’re experiencing the same worker shortage other industries are going through since the pandemic’s start.

You can get your prescription filled at your pharmacy, but some pharmacists say it’s been harder lately filling job openings for workers to fill those prescriptions.

“It’s been very tough for at least the past year, going back to March of 2020 when the pandemic started,” said Jeff Danhauer of Danhauer Drug Store in Owensboro.

“It’d used to be that you’d have a pool of applicants that you could choose from, that’s 10-20 applicants at a time. Now we put a position up, and they trickle in,” explained David Figg of Rice’s Pharmacy in Ohio County.
Pharmacists at both businesses say it’s been tougher to find new workers since the pandemic started. and it’s added to the workload of current workers as flu season starts.

“Workload has gone up, and we’ve had to increase the number of technicians we have for that. That causes challenges. COVID shots, now we’re going through the boosters, you’ve got flu season,” said Figg.

A National Community Pharmacists Association survey released this past summer shows 80% of community pharmacists are having a difficult time filling job openings, and a majority can’t find either pharmacy technicians or sales associates. CEO Douglas Hoey says some pharmacists are working longer hours due to the shortage.

“What we’re seeing is he or she is working longer hours to fill the gaps to make sure that every patient is taken care of. There is a lot more exhaustion taking place,” he said.

Pharmacists say they’re adapting through changing how the pharmacy is run, or how to bring in new workers.

“We did a lot with workflow, where we were trying to streamline our workflow,” Danhauer said.

“We’ve got to appease what people are looking for, whether it’d be their schedule or the pay, or how we can show appreciation for them,” adds Figg.

(This story was originally published on October 26, 2021)