What is American Pharmacists Month?
Pharmacists serve a vital role in their communities, connecting people with access to life-saving treatment by ensuring access to medications and patient education. But though pharmacists serve their patients diligently, they aren’t always recognized for their care and diligence.
American Pharmacists Month is an opportunity to acknowledge the unique and invaluable ways that pharmacists provide care. It’s a time to celebrate pharmacists’ work and increase public awareness about how essential this work is. During this designated month, the pharmacy community also joins together to discuss educational initiatives, industry concerns, and the future of the profession.
When are American Pharmacists Month and National Pharmacy Week?
American Pharmacist Month in the United States is celebrated annually in October. Appreciation events throughout the early part of October culminate in National Pharmacy Week, a tradition that has been observed for decades during the third full week of October. In 2023, Pharmacy Week will be held October 15-21.
Why is American Pharmacists Month Important?
Surveys have found that people outside the healthcare industry often don’t understand the full scope of what pharmacists do, where they can work, and how they support the structure of the healthcare system. American Pharmacists Month provides an opportunity to raise public awareness of these issues and more.
The viability of pharmaceutical careers in education, research, and direct patient care relies on a pipeline of students excited about the industry. By recognizing pharmacist’s essential contributions to healthier communities and better healthcare outcomes, individual pharmacists feel appreciated and the industry as a whole becomes more visible to future pharmacists.
Public education initiatives through social media and interactions among friends can help people better understand what pharmacists do. Some facts to share during American Pharmacist Month include:
- Pharmacists are often the most accessible healthcare professionals that patients see
- Community pharmacies are the most frequently visited healthcare destinations for patients, coming in ahead of urgent care centers and hospitals
- Community pharmacists are widely regarded as a powerful force for patient education, patient interaction, and patient care
- Research pharmacists may be less visible than the pharmacists you will meet at the drugstore or the hospital, but they work behind the scenes to test and develop life-saving drugs
- Pharmacists are consistently ranked by the public as some of the most trusted community professionals
- Pharmacists practice in a wide variety of work environments, including pharmaceutical companies, veterinary clinics, non-governmental organizations, tech startups, hospitals, and research settings
- Pharmacists play an important role in addressing the ongoing mental health crisis; a systematic review shows that pharmacists are able to improve medication adherence and reduce negative patient outcomes, like hospitalizations, by providing access to psychiatric and neurological medications
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) provides shareable resources to help spread the word about the work and education that goes into being a pharmacist.
The History of National Pharmacists Month
American Pharmacists Month is a relatively new designation, but efforts to appreciate pharmacists during October have been underway for decades.
According to the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), US-based radio stations began broadcasting content highlighting the role of pharmacists during one week of October in the mid-1920s. These special broadcasts were meant to spread public awareness about the profession of pharmacy as it continued to evolve.
In 2004, the APhA officially expanded the celebration from one week to a full month, recognizing October as National Pharmacists Month.
Additional National Pharmacy Celebration Days
The contributions of pharmacists are recognized with several other special days spread throughout the year.
- World Pharmacist Day, celebrated September 25
- National Women Pharmacist Day, celebrated on October 12
- National Pharmacy Week takes place in the third week of October (This year’s will be on October 15-21, 2023.)
- National Pharmacy Technician Day, celebrated on the third Tuesday in October (This year’s will be October 17, 2023.)
- National Pharmacist Day, celebrated January 12
What Does the Future for Pharmacists Look Like?
It makes sense that pharmacists should be recognized for how hard they work and the service they deliver to the public. The role of the pharmacist continues to expand. Today’s pharmacists are increasingly part of integrated healthcare delivery, teaming up with other healthcare providers to help patients manage chronic conditions and navigate medically complex situations.
Becoming a pharmacist requires a four-year professional degree called a Doctor of Pharmacy. Graduates are also required to pass two professional exams: the NAPLEX and the MJPE in order to practice pharmacy.
The University of Findlay offers an on-campus program as well as a Distance Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. The Distance Doctor of Pharmacies program is one of very few of its kind and is uniquely designed to deliver a comprehensive and fully accredited learning experience for future pharmacists. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that demand for pharmacists is going to continue to increase, with 13,400 job openings projected each year.
Findlay’s Distance PharmD degree includes synchronous and asynchronous delivery of online education as well as four immersive campus residencies at our Ohio campus. The final on-campus experience focuses on final exams and preparation for the NAPLEX and MJPE exams. Graduates of the program who pass those exams will be prepared for pharmacy licensure.