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Keeping prescriptions filled, workforce shortages impacting pharmacies across the Valley

Nearly 90% of independent pharmacies report struggles to find pharmacy technicians to help fill prescriptions.

PHOENIX — The "Great Resignation" or mass exodus of employees leaving their jobs in search of greener pastures has impacted all industries including the people who fill prescriptions.

According to the National Community Pharmacist Association, nearly 90% of independent pharmacies, which make up around a third of retail pharmacies, can not find technicians to keep them running. 

A passion to care for his neighbors

“I worked at a pharmacy to get myself through college and I just fell into it and liked it; been doing it for 41 years,” said Registered Pharmacist and Owner of Fairmont Pharmacy, Greg Roller. 

The neighborhood pharmacy is located off North Central Avenue and Camelback Road. Roller said his team is like a family. 

“We have a great crew. We’ve bonded together; been together for eight years,” said Roller. 

The last two years his team has spent keeping prescriptions filled during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is once again spreading throughout Valley neighborhoods. Roller knows his neighborhood and clients well. 

“That is the benefit of owning a small business," said Roller. "I’ve had people coming to me for 20 years. I’ve seen their children grow up and have their own children.”  

Pharmacy technicians are instrumental in keeping prescriptions filled 

There are nearly 420,000 pharmacy technicians in the U.S. with a median pay is $16.87 per hour, but many technicians are leaving their jobs because of the low pay and long hours. 

“Pharmacies are closing or some are selling out to the big guys,” said Roller. 

12 News attempted to speak with another neighborhood pharmacy but their technician was gone for the day, causing them to be backed up. 

Technicians leaving has also impacted major pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens which have had to adjust hours due to a laboring workforce. 

Fortunately for Greg, his team has weathered the storm and he encourages people to take advantage of independent pharmacies like Fairmont. People should, "get to know their pharmacist and their pharmacist can get to know them and their family," said Roller. 

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