The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics projects explosive demand in the medical field for the foreseeable future and pharmacy technicians are one subgroup where we see this trend.
There will be an estimated 437,600 pharmacy technician jobs in the United States by 2029.
Here are some of the reasons.
1. Aging Population
People are now living longer than ever due to better nutrition, modern medicine, and public health initiatives. More people have access to nutritious food that supports longevity.
Modern medical advances, like vaccines, are extending life spans all the time. When was the last time you worried about measles or polio?
Additionally, there are fewer preventable deaths in developed countries now that we know simple ways to stay alive, like washing our hands and covering our sneezes.
The more elderly the population becomes, the more demand there is for prescription drugs. This is just one reason for the increasing need for pharmacy technicians and other healthcare workers.
2. Increases in Chronic Diseases
Although we are living longer as a species, that does not mean we are without our health concerns.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every six out of ten adult Americans are living with a chronic condition. Four out of every ten have two or more.
This rise in chronic diseases means the demand for health services is exploding. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that almost half of Americans took at least one prescription over a one-month period. Nearly a quarter took three or more.
These numbers will probably continue to rise as chronic diseases increase. Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in making sure people get their needed prescriptions.
3. More Health Insurance
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, was passed in 2010. This change expanded healthcare options for millions of Americans.
The bill provided free or reduced-cost health insurance for people with low incomes. It also paid for Medicaid expansion in some states.
However, there was a downside. Some Americans who did not qualify for subsidized insurance had to pay for expensive health insurance plans, even if they made only slightly more than those who benefitted.
The health research nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation reported that eight million Americans were left paying for full-price plans.
Enter 2021. The COVID-19 relief package puts a band-aid on these problems for now. The package includes more help for those already receiving it and lowers healthcare costs for more Americans.
The COVID-19 relief package benefits are set to expire in 2023, but many people are fighting to keep healthcare accessible for all. Even if the details look different, affordable healthcare is likely to keep improving.
More pharmacy technicians will be needed to ensure people have access to the prescription medications covered by their health insurance.
4. Medical Innovations
Every year, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research approves various new drugs, biological products, and novel therapies.
These advances open up more healthcare options for Americans. As of April 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had already approved eighteen new treatments for the calendar year.
The pharmaceutical industry is constantly coming up with new treatments and cures to fight diseases. These advancements will continue to require an increased pharmacy technician workforce.
5. New Pharmacy Care Models
Medications are constantly improving, and the medical community is always looking for better ways to deliver them.
Currently, pharmacy care models include:
- Community Pharmacies: These are your local pharmacies where you can walk in or drive through to pick up your prescriptions.
- Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities: In-patient medical institutions often have pharmacy staff to meet patient needs on-site.
- Mail Order: More people are getting their prescriptions sent right to their homes.
As prescription drugs evolve, innovative delivery methods are needed to manage the demand effectively. New models center the patient, maximize technology, and increase accessibility.
Some of the new pharmacy care models are:
- Dispensing Kiosks: These booths allow patients increased access to their prescriptions.
- Precision Medicine: A personalized medicine approach takes a person’s genetics and individual factors into account when prescribing medication.
- Patient-Centered Homes: Some pharmacy care companies now offer personalized medication management in long-term care facilities and homes for patients with chronic challenges.
As more new pharmacy care models arise, they will need pharmacy technicians to play a vital role in meeting patients’ needs.
Society’s advances have come with their own set of challenges. People are living longer but, as they age, they need more prescription drugs and medical services. Our modern lifestyle seems to lend itself to chronic diseases like never before.
Luckily, access to prescription medication is getting easier thanks to healthcare reform. The scientific and medical communities are inventing innovative ways to get these prescriptions to the people who need them.
Pharmacy technician schools can prepare you to be part of these exciting advances.