(WISH-TV Photo)

The COVID-19 pandemic created an urgency around pharmacists’ roles. From filling prescriptions to vaccinating Hoosiers against the virus, the burden has forced many pharmacists to leave the industry.

Hamid Abbaspour, the owner of Dr. Aziz Pharmacy in Indianapolis, said this was an issue before the pandemic.

However, Abbaspour said healthcare workers stepped up and worked overtime and that caused stress.

Another factor for pharmacists leaving is the added large amounts of patients who seek COVID testing and vaccinations.

Abbaspour said pharmacists are doing more than their job title and dealing with “the middle man” at larger corporations about insurance or the lack of insurance of patients. 

“One of my pharmacists, he got a real estate license,” said Abbaspour. “It breaks my heart because this person was one of the best pharmacists and leaving the market just because of that.”

He said there are plenty of factors at play, including community pharmacists not getting enough support from the corporations they work with.

For example, Abbaspour said Medicare paid his pharmacy to administer the COVID vaccine. To do this, he had to submit claims through larger corporations who in return take 20% from them. That bites into their income.

Abbaspour said the solution is that they need to work on training and hiring more qualified people in larger corporations.