According to recent statistics, Lebanon boosts one of the highest pharmacists to population ratios globally (20.3/10,000). Yet, workforce analyses elicited serious concerns with the distribution, practice environments and regulation of Lebanese pharmacists. Recent reports reveal that the profession has been majorly destabilized with hundreds of pharmacists closing their pharmacies or becoming unemployed. Proper planning for the future of the pharmacy profession in Lebanon necessitates a deeper understanding of the current challenges and the necessary policy and practice recommendations.
Dr. Mohamad Alameddine, Professor at the Health Management and Policy department at the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at the American University of Beirut (AUB), FHS Masters graduates Karen Bou-Karroum and Sara Kassas, and Dr. Mohamad Ali Hijazi, Professor at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, Beirut Arab University, conducted a study with the aim to examine stakeholders' perspectives on the current pharmacist workforce challenges and the necessary measures to support the profession.
According to the study, published in PLoS One, and entitled “A profession in danger: Stakeholders' perspectives on supporting the pharmacy profession in Lebanon", four major themes emerged as the most critical to address: the oversupply of pharmacists in Lebanon, the demand supply imbalance, poor regulation of the pharmacy practice, and the difficult practice environment. The study also reports that lack of coordination between the educational and practice sectors is further widening the demand supply gap.
The poor pharmacy workforce planning and regulation is significantly weakening the pharmacy profession in Lebanon. A concerted effort between the various stakeholders is necessary to enhance workforce planning, regulate supply, optimize the integration of pharmacists into work sectors of need, and improve the financial and professional wellbeing of pharmacists in Lebanon.
To read the full study, please click here.