A pharmacy’s success can ebb and flow according to real-life events. Like any small business, your independent pharmacy must adjust to whatever comes its way. Conflict and adversity are inevitable, so planning ahead for the oncoming storm is essential.

Shortages are a common part of modern-day businesses, mainly due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has hit the pharmacy industry in many ways.

It has changed how you work, clean your pharmacy, and your entire approach to patient care.

In this case, however, we’re talking about the ongoing pharmacy technician shortage.

Though independent pharmacies nationwide are experiencing general staff shortages, it’s worth looking into the reasons behind the current pharmacy technician shortage. Once you know the why, you can come up with a solution.

Here’s what you need to know about the pharmacy technician shortage.

The Impact of the Pharmacy Technician Shortage

Pharmacies across the country are feeling the brunt of the current pharmacy technician shortage. A pharmacy technician shortage stretches your staff thin during even the most normal days.

An NCPA survey found that three-quarters of independent pharmacies are reporting staff shortages. Fifty-four percent of respondents say that the shortages have contributed to longer waiting times for patients.

Current economic conditions also contribute to the current pharmacy technician shortage. 93% of respondents attribute inflation to affecting their businesses, making it difficult for pharmacists to offer competitive wages.

The lack of competitive or higher wages causes pharmacy technicians to seek employment elsewhere.

That’s not the only thing hurting pharmacies. Apart from the current pharmacy technician shortage, independent pharmacies are unable to change their medication prices.

Insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers largely control prescription prices. As it stands, independent pharmacies need to find ways to weather the current storm while coming up with long-term solutions.

Though independent pharmacy work isn’t always smooth sailing, there are a few ways to find — or even create — the light at the end of the pharmacy tunnel.

Pharmacy work depends on the efficiency and workplace synergy, which can only be developed over time.

Create a Lead Technician Position

A quality pharmacy technician is often hard to come by, not to mention one that’s available.

One of the biggest challenges in the pharmacy workplace is the apparent lack of career progression. Unless you’re going to pharmacy school, you’ve already hit your professional ceiling as a tech.

Though your techs can’t technically progress much further, you can still create some professional incentives.

If you haven’t already, create a lead pharmacy technician position. Though you have other staff pharmacists, a lead tech is a superb leadership position for your most qualified employees.

A lead tech can be more approachable and even relatable compared to their pharmacist counterparts.

Despite your best intentions, you can’t deny the power dynamic between a regular tech and a pharmacy manager. A lead tech can be a much-needed mediator to cut any kind of tension.

Adding a lead tech position can give your staff incentive to work harder and provide more quality patient care. A lead tech can also help you during hectic days when experiencing a pharmacy technician shortage.

As a result, having a lead tech position acts as both a short and long-term solution to the ongoing pharmacy technician shortage.

Create an Internal Technician Development Program

Sometimes the best solutions are homegrown. As we mentioned in the previous section, a good pharmacy technician who isn’t already working is quite rare. As a result, you might have to look internally.

An internal development program is another long-term solution to a pharmacy technician shortage. Instead of offering a leadership position, an internal development program would have your pharmacy clerks learn the technician ropes.

Over time, your clerk would become a pharmacy tech. The key here is to make the program as appealing as possible. The best way to sweeten the deal is to pay your clerks for their testing or license renewal fees.

Renewing a technician license or taking the pharmacy technician exam is a pricey investment. Offering reimbursement eases any financial stress your clerks might be experiencing.

This program would encourage your staff to stay on longer, mitigating any future pharmacy technician shortages.

How Your Pharmacy Software System Comes Into Play

As we’ve mentioned in several prior blogs, your pharmacy software system is your right-hand man. It can influence your pharmacy’s workflow and efficiency. It can also fill gaps when you experience a pharmacy technician shortage.

If you’re short-staffed, you’re short-staffed. There’s no going around it. The best way to promote a more efficient workplace is to take things as they come. In the case of a staff or pharmacy technician shortage, get down to the basics.

Make sure your fill queue is being taken care of. A quality pharmacy software system will give you the most urgent orders first and let you adjust ready-by times when necessary.

The more automated features, the better. Your pharmacy software system should be able to do the heavy lifting when it comes to patient messaging and making inventory orders.

Though your pharmacy may be operating at less-than-optimal efficiency, you’re doing what you can. In the event of a pharmacy technician shortage, that’s all you can really ask for.


Problem solving in the pharmacy is all about making do with what you have. There’s no use in crying over spilled milk, especially when you have a long line of patients.

The current pharmacy technician shortage is a perfect example of this. The shortage signifies the current state of the industry: a work in progress.

The best way to approach this issue is a healthy blend of mindfulness and foresight. Use the staff you have and explore your pharmacy software system’s capabilities. You can’t change the weather but you can change how handle it.