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Pharmacy Techs Will Be Busier As Med Use Increases

I went on a trip this past weekend with a group of my friends and at breakfast time our table looked like a pharmacy. At the end of the meal we all took out our baggies and pill boxes and compared our collections: pain, blood pressure and cholesterol medications were just a few of the pills that we gladly popped to ease our ailing bodies. (Did I mention we ranged from 36 – 50 years old?)

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting blog on this issue written by Anna Wilde Mathews. Mathews states that during the recession the demand for drugs decreased and now this trend is reversing. It seems to me that in a recession stress would cause more ailments therefore increasing the demand for prescription drugs, which means that Pharmacy Tech students are choosing the right career path.

Mathews writes that, “There’s new evidence that the drop in patient demand for medications during the recession is starting to reverse.

“The annual drug trend report from Medco Health Solutions finds that last year’s increase in spending on pharmaceuticals was driven largely by increased use of medicines — a shift from the last few years. (Drug makers did continue to sharply raise the prices of their brand-name products last year, but the impact on overall spending was blunted by the increasing use of generics.)”

I would assume some of the increase in prescription drugs would be the immense amount of money pharmaceutical companies are spending on advertising. It’s rare to turn on the TV and not see an ad for birth control, insulin, allergy or cholesterol medications. I’ve also noticed several pages of my magazines are occupied by small print and medical disclaimers.

Mathews relates some interesting statistics showing the increase in demand for medications. “Spending on drugs rose 3.7% last year, the same as in 2009. Most of that increase was from growing use of medicines, particularly in diabetes and also some other chronic conditions. The 2.1% increase in drug use was the biggest jump since 2005; the tough economy of the last few years may have limited the use of prescriptions even by people with insurance coverage, who often still have significant out-of-pocket expenses on medications.

“There was 1.6% overall increase in costs (measured as the cost of one day of therapy). While the use of generics helped keep that figure low, the price of brand-name drugs rose 9.4% — a new record high, Medco said, with even higher prices expected in 2011. Medco officials pegged that trend to drug makers’ efforts to make up for revenue lost as major products go generic, as well as the passed-through cost of the health-care overall law.”

It seems like the trend for medication use is growing, which means that the need for Pharmacy Technicians in the San Francisco Bay Area will also be increasing.

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