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  Pharmacist shortage gets worse; job market is 'hot' in Nebraska

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Unlike most college students nearing graduation, Clarissa Hall isnt worried about finding a job shes already considering several offers, including some with possible starting salaries of at least $80,000. Hall is benefiting from a nationwide shortage of pharmacists, which has caused fierce competition among employers for new pharmacy graduates. Pretty much everyone in my class has people calling them left and right about jobs, said Hall, a University of Missouri-Kansas City student from Poplar Bluff. Ive had several people calling me and I dont even graduate until May. (In Nebraska, the state Workforce Development Department has a one-word description of the pharmacy job market: Hot.) The shortage of pharmacists, though, is not good for others in the medical field, or their patients, say those who have been watching the shortage worsen over the last decade. It was caused by several factors, especially changes in insurance policies and federal regulations of pharmaceuticals, which made drugs available to more people. Add to that an aging population and more drugs being manufactured and advertised to the public, and the number of prescriptions has increased from 2 billion to 3.2 billion in the last decade. That problem is expected to expand after the new Medicare prescription drug program begins Jan. 1, pharmacy officials said.
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