Background: There is currently a shortage of pharmacist manpower, and it is expected to continue into the near future. It is also likely that the implementation of Medicare Part D will further aggravate the shortage by increasing demand, but it is not clear how much impact it will have. Objective: The purpose of this study was to estimate the impact that the new Medicare drug benefit program will have on pharmacy workforce demand. Methods: Analysis was conducted using forecasting techniques, which combines traditional statistical theory with both quantitative and qualitative methods. The Aggregated Demand Index (ADI) was designated as the dependent variable. A number of independent variables were selected for their potential to affect the workforce, demand for prescriptions or clinical services, and patient population. Data for the identified variables were collected from a variety of sources. Supply and demand data were analyzed at a national level. Results: Both historical and univariate forecasts indicated that the demand for pharmacists will continue to exceed the supply of pharmacists. The ADI ratio of pharmacist demand-to-supply has recently leveled off which means that demand and supply are in an equilibrium that falls to the demand side. Consequently, the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) is not predicted to produce a dramatic increase in prescription volume, which would change the current demand for pharmacists. Multivariate forecasting models were not robust primarily due to the lack of precise predictor variables. Conclusions: Despite the reliance on preliminary univariate forecasts and imprecise predictor variables, it appears that the increased use of prescriptions due to the MMA Part D will have minimal impact on pharmacist demand. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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