Tyler, TX (KYTX) -- UT Tyler is one step closer to establishing a pharmacy program. Lawmakers OK'ed a bill to allow the pharmacy school--and it now needs Governor Perry's signature.
Supporters call it a win-win for both the school and East Texas.
"The demand for pharmaceuticals and medical care in general will skyrocket very shortly," Dr. Rodney Mabry, President of UT Tyler, said.
Mabry explains how the school will fill a void in our region. "We've been approached by a number of business leaders saying that it's difficult to get pharmacists and to retain them, if they hire them from out of state," Mabry said.
Right now there are only 6 similar pharmacy programs in Texas."There's not going to be any problem placing these students. We already know that last year 58 percent pharmacists hired in Texas were from out of state," Mabry said.
UT Tyler's proposed 4-year program is unique in that it'll be the first pharmacy college in Texas that is supported not by funding from the state, but by philanthropy and tuition dollars from students who attend.
Tyler pharmacies are ready for the prospective workers if all works out.
"They must have so many intern hours while they are in school, so pharmacies are available to do that and we would certainly be one of those pharmacies," David Davis, Pharmacist Manager at Good's Medicine Chest, said.
Davis worked as a recruiter, and says he knows firsthand the need to find pharmacists who will settle down in East Texas.
"It's a beautiful area to raise a family in, but if you aren't from this area it's difficult to convey to people what a great place it is to work and live," Davis said.
The bill still needs approval from Governor Perry and the Board of Regents.
The goal is to have UT Tyler's pharmacy school open in the Fall of 2015.