Letter to the Editor
I am writing in response to the editorials on Pharmaceuticals, pharmacists and profits (Aust Prescr 2014;37:146-7 and 148-9). I enjoyed reading the Pharmacy Guild’s perspective on troubles facing the industry. However, the editorial failed to mention the financial troubles facing community pharmacists who are not pharmacy owners.
Few people, including those studying to become pharmacists, are aware that the award rate for a full-time pharmacist in charge is $27.16/hour (equivalent to $53 674 annual salary).1 Note that pharmacist interns, pharmacists and experienced pharmacists are all paid less than this. To compare, an unqualified experienced retail employee may earn up to $44 787.2 Pharmacists’ wages are significantly below the average Australian wage of $76 804 before tax.3
From this wage, a pharmacist must pay to be registered for insurance and course fees for 40 hours of continuing professional development per year. Debt from university fees must also be paid. There is a current oversupply of pharmacists, and jobs for salaried pharmacists are not easy to obtain.
I understand that some pharmacies are currently experiencing a period of hardship. But should salaried pharmacists be the ones to subsidise the industry by being forced to accept these low rates of pay?