An upcoming report on the state's pharmacist shortage may play into the UNC system's decision on two proposals by public universities to expand pharmacy programs.
UNC system officials said today they're still evaluating a request by UNC-Chapel Hill to create a distance education program to offer courses remotely to students in Asheville.
Additionally, the UNC system is considering a UNC-Greensboro request to create its own pharmacy school.
Those two requests are dissimilar and most likely would not both be granted, UNC system President Erskine Bowles said today.
"It's most likely an either/or," he said during a meeting of the UNC system's Board of Governors.
UNC-CH currently has the state's sole public pharmacy school. UNCG wants the second, and has cited a 2002 study by the Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC-CH that found that the number of retail pharmacists per 10,000 citizens was decreasing even as the state’s population and the demand for prescription drugs was rising.
But is the demand for pharmacists the same as it was several years ago?
That may be the critical question here, and the Sheps Center has a new study on the way in a couple weeks that could shine some light on the current demand, officials said.