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Pharmacist shortage impacts on local medical clinic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Staffing shortages impacted retail stores like Walgreens and CVS as pharmacists have trouble keeping up with the rise in COVID-19, RSV, and flu cases.

Hamid Abbaspour, a pharmacist and owner of Dr. Aziz Medical Clinic, said it’s because pharmacists don’t want to work in retail settings.

“They’re dealing with issues in the environment,” he said.

Abbaspour has been in business for 35 years and said pharmacists have more responsibility now and not enough support from technicians and clerks. With flu cases, COVID-19, and RSV season, he said that’s not what is driving pharmacists to feel “burnout.”

“When it comes to those, they’re like bring it on! We’ll take care of it, but at the same time they want to be sure that they don’t have to be on the phone for hours with an insurance company to process a prescription or get a complaint from a patient that their prescription isn’t covered,” explained Abbaspour. “Those things can be outsourced. Let the pharmacist take care of the patient and unfortunately we’re losing that.”

He continued on with a good sign of the number of students that show interest in the career. There are three pharmacy schools in Indiana including: Butler, Manchester, and Purdue. Abbaspour explained that hundreds of students graduate each year.

Kameron Foellinger is a recent graduate from Purdue University College of Pharmacy. Before he accepted a job at Dr. Aziz Medical Clinic, he interned at a big chain pharmacy.

“The store I worked at, we did about 1,400 prescriptions a day. It was one of the biggest stores in Indiana,” Foellinger said. “But definitely, there were stressful times where things start to pile up and there’s too many tasks falling on the pharmacists and not enough personnel to handle all the patients coming in.”

Pharmacists from big chains have reached out to Abbaspour looking for work.

“I get applications every month,” he said.