Pharmaceutical Society concerned about migration of pharmacists

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, June 25, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Ainsley Jones, president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica (PSJ), has expressed concern about what he called the mass migration of pharmacists.

“... While the University of Technology and The University of the West Indies have been putting out a number of pharmacists, we have recognised that there is a phenomenon now where the pharmacists are migrating [shortly after graduation],” Jones said.

According to the PSJ president, the preferred destinations where the pharmacists are opting to work are other Caribbean islands and Canada, where they are offered salary packages of up to 600 per cent more than they earn here.

“The major challenge with that, that we have recognised, based on surveys that we have done, is that pharmacists locally are really remunerated at the rate that they should be. They can go to other Caribbean islands and earn three times what they earn in Jamaica; they go to Canada they earn up to six times what they earn in Jamaica — so they are really not staying here because, in terms of their knowledge, its transferable to other jurisdictions so they are taking that opportunity to leave,” Jones noted.

The head of the PSJ said, however, that the migration of pharmacists has not yet resulted in a chronic shortage.

Jones noted that just more than 500 of the approximately 1,000 registered pharmacists are members of the PSJ.

“… Not all pharmacists practise in a pharmacy setting; they do other things in the allied profession — insurance, academia, regulatory, etc. So not everybody practises within the setting as a pharmacy as we do it,” he explained.

Jones was speaking to members of the media at the 33rd Annual Pharmaceutical Conference at Montego Bay Convention Centre on Saturday.

The conference was held under the theme: 'Pharmacists: Advocating, Engaging, Collaborating with our Communities for a healthier Jamaica'.

The PSJ is celebrating 90 years of existence.

Mayor of Montego Bay Councillor Homer Davis hailed the organisation on the its nine decades of existence. “Ninety years is no ordinary achievement for any organisation,” Mayor Davis said in his welcome remarks at the conference.

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