A federal report says Iowa’s facing one of the worst shortages of pharmacists in the nation. Jerry Karbeling, senior vice president of the Iowa Pharmacy Association, says there’s a -quote- “hyper-demand” for pharmacists in the Hawkeye State. He says the hospital association did a survey and found it one of the most difficult positions to fill.The two major pharmacy schools in Iowa are at Drake University and the University of Iowa. The two combined produced about 170 graduates in May. Karbeling says starting pharmacists often make 65-to-75-thousand dollars right out of school, along with other incentives.Karbeling says only about 40-percent of the pharmacy grads from Drake and the University of Iowa stay in the state to work. He applauds the recent effort by state officials to lure former Iowans to return home.He says part of the problem is the rapid growth of chain drug stores, like Walgreens, which plans to open 500 more stores nationwide this decade. While no Iowa figures are available, there are about seven thousand openings for pharmacists nationwide, a number that’s more than doubled in three years.
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