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Pharmacist deficit: Vital to employ more pharmacists

Updated: May 24, 2022

Why is there a pharmacist shortage despite graduates?

Present issue:

Pharmacists are too few in the country based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization of one per 2 300 population.

In spite of the fact that pharmacists qualify, insufficient jobs are being created, causing pharmacists to become unemployed.

Key statistics:

In 2016, according to the World Health Organisation, the ratio of the population to pharmacists was 10 000 people to 2.72 pharmacists.

In 2022, the ratio has improved to 3.17 per 10 000 but the shortage remains to meet international standards of 4.35 per 10 000.

April 2010

​April 2022

​12 813 Pharmacists

19 281 Pharmacists

​9 071 Pharmacist Assistants

​24 572 Pharmacist Assistants


"The shortage of pharmacists in South Africa remains an accepted fact and clearly limits the delivery of effective pharmaceutical services to all people everywhere in the country. New and sometimes unexpected bottlenecks have restricted the assimilation of these graduates into the pharmaceutical service of the country." - Sarel Malan, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa


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