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Pharmacists picture    Pharmacists image

Pharmacists

Pharmacists dispense drugs prescribed by doctors and they also provide information to customers regarding side effects and the usage of drugs. They have knowledge about the laws that regulate the manufacturing and sales of drugs. A pharmacist also has knowledge about the composition of medicines and how drugs interact with each other.

Most pharmacists work in community pharmacies. Pharmacy technicians often assist pharmacists with dispensing medications. Some pharmacists focus on dispensing drugs, whereas others oversee an entire store.

Some pharmacists specialize in particular drug therapy areas including oncology, geriatric pharmacy and nuclear pharmacy. A number of pharmacists are involved in research for pharmaceutical manufacturers, whereas others work in marketing and sales.

Some sample job titles are staff pharmacist, registered pharmacist, clinical pharmacist and hospital pharmacist.

Responsibilities

  • Review prescriptions to make sure they are accurate
  • Order, inspect, store and dispense drugs
  • Provide information about side effects of drugs to their customers
  • Accurately measure and pack medicines
  • Educate customers on how to take medications
  • Assess the identity, purity and strength of medications
  • Plan, implement and maintain procedures for mixing, packaging and labeling pharmaceuticals according to legal requirements and policy
  • Provide advice to customers on choosing medication brands and healthcare supplies
  • Consult with other healthcare professionals in order to plan, monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and quality of drugs and drug regimens
  • Maintain records of the drugs

Job Characteristics

Pharmacists work in clean and well-ventilated settings. Many pharmacists stand for a large portion of their working day. Most pharmacists work 40 hour per work. Some pharmacists work part-time. They may work at night and during the weekends and holidays. Consultant pharmacists may travel to healthcare facilities in order to monitor patients' drug therapies. In addition, a pharmacist should have good interpersonal skills and scientific aptitude. They also need to be detailed oriented.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 17 percent employment growth for pharmacists from 2008 to 2018 which is faster than the average for all occupations. The growing number of middle-aged and senior citizens will increase the demand for pharmacists.

In 2008 the median annual earnings of wage and salary pharmacists was $106,410. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $131,440.

Pharmacists working for chain drugstores may move up to pharmacy supervisor or store manager positions. Those working in hospitals may advance into supervisor or administrative positions. Some pharmacists become owners or part-owners of independent pharmacies.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Pharmacists are required to have a Pharm.D. degree from an accredited college or school of pharmacy. In order for applicants to be eligible for a Pharm.D. program they must have completed at least two years of specific professional study. This requirement usually includes courses in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, social sciences and the humanities. Pharm.D. programs typically take four years to finish. In addition to classroom learning, students spend time working with licensed pharmacists in a variety of practice settings.

Although not specifically required, most candidates have completed three or more years at a college or university before entering a Pharm.D program. Some Pharm.D. graduates receive additional training via a one or two year residency program or a fellowship. Residency programs are often required for pharmacists that want to work in a clinical setting. Pharmacy fellowships are designed to prepare individuals for working in a specialized area of pharmacy such as research or clinical practice.

Every state requires a license to practice pharmacy. Typically, to acquire a license, a candidate must earn a Pharm.D. degree from a college of pharmacy that has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. They must also pass a series of examinations.

All states require a candidate to take the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam. The majority of states also require candidates to take the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam which focuses on pharmacy law. The states that do not require candidates to take the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam have their own pharmacy law exam.

Every jurisdiction requires candidates to have gained a specified number of hours of experience in a practice setting before they can obtain a license. In addition, every state allows licensure for graduates of foreign pharmacy schools.

Resources

Major Employers

The primary employers are community pharmacies, hospitals, nursing home pharmacies and the pharmaceutical industry.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Pharmacists

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Pharmacists jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Birmingham 1660 $116,410
Hoover 1660 $116,410
Huntsville 490 $133,710
Mobile 390 $119,500
Montgomery 350 $120,470
Dothan 270 $123,470
Tuscaloosa 250 $117,420
Fairhope 230 $116,890
Foley 230 $116,890
Daphne 230 $116,890
Opelika 170 $114,470
Auburn 170 $114,470
Decatur 170 $126,180
Florence 150 $125,790
Muscle Shoals 150 $125,790
Gadsden 100 $124,250
Oxford 100 $138,600
Jacksonville 100 $138,600
Anniston 100 $138,600
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 300 $138,090
Fairbanks 70 $140,960
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Mesa 4310 $123,680
Scottsdale 4310 $123,680
Phoenix 4310 $123,680
Tucson 1010 $121,580
Flagstaff 130 $123,760
Yuma 130 $140,570
Prescott 110 $128,580
Lake Havasu City 100 $138,570
Kingman 100 $138,570
Sierra Vista 60 $135,310
Douglas 60 $135,310
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 1340 $114,940
North Little Rock 1340 $114,940
Little Rock 1340 $114,940
Hot Springs 140 $108,910
Jonesboro 130 $127,160
Pine Bluff 70 $118,680
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Long Beach 11170 $140,160
Los Angeles 11170 $140,160
Anaheim 11170 $140,160
Oakland 3480 $143,580
Hayward 3480 $143,580
San Francisco 3480 $143,580
San Bernardino 2650 $141,440
Ontario 2650 $141,440
Riverside 2650 $141,440
San Diego 2130 $135,580
Carlsbad 2130 $135,580
Arden 2020 $143,310
Arcade 2020 $143,310
Roseville 2020 $143,310
Sacramento 2020 $143,310
Sunnyvale 1680 $143,890
Santa Clara 1680 $143,890
San Jose 1680 $143,890
Bakersfield 710 $143,260
Fresno 710 $144,690
Stockton 700 $142,870
Lodi 700 $142,870
Thousand Oaks 570 $135,720
Oxnard 570 $135,720
Ventura 570 $135,720
Modesto 350 $142,930
Santa Rosa 310 $145,830
Fairfield 260 $140,560
Vallejo 260 $140,560
Porterville 240 $137,650
Visalia 240 $137,650
Salinas 220 $135,260
San Luis Obispo 190 $137,840
Arroyo Grande 190 $137,840
Paso Robles 190 $137,840
Santa Maria 190 $141,150
Santa Barbara 190 $141,150
Chico 190 $144,780
Santa Cruz 140 $153,400
Watsonville 140 $153,400
Redding 130 $147,130
Napa 110 $138,710
Corcoran 90 $139,140
Hanford 90 $139,140
Yuba City 90 $141,030
Madera 80 $141,500
Merced 70 $145,820
El Centro 60 $143,430
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Aurora 3650 $120,590
Lakewood 3650 $120,590
Denver 3650 $120,590
Colorado Springs 560 $115,500
Boulder 310 $127,420
Fort Collins 220 $124,250
Pueblo 160 $117,140
Grand Junction 110 $122,990
Greeley 100 $121,880
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hartford 930 $118,220
East Hartford 930 $118,220
West Hartford 930 $118,220
Bridgeport 630 $126,310
Norwalk 630 $126,310
Stamford 630 $126,310
New Haven 460 $115,950
Danbury 160 $130,150
Waterbury 150 $112,040
     
Metro Area (Delaware) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dover 120 $124,410
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 6840 $119,360
Fort Lauderdale 6840 $119,360
Miami 6840 $119,360
Tampa 3330 $116,730
St. Petersburg 3330 $116,730
Clearwater 3330 $116,730
Kissimmee 2430 $121,360
Orlando 2430 $121,360
Sanford 2430 $121,360
Jacksonville 1540 $116,280
North Port 650 $116,730
Bradenton 650 $116,730
Sarasota 650 $116,730
Fort Myers 540 $119,460
Cape Coral 540 $119,460
Lakeland 510 $114,650
Winter Haven 510 $114,650
Deltona 480 $118,850
Ormond Beach 480 $118,850
Daytona Beach 480 $118,850
Gainesville 450 $109,530
Palm Bay 450 $119,060
Melbourne 450 $119,060
Titusville 450 $119,060
Ferry Pass 440 $120,640
Pensacola 440 $120,640
Brent 440 $120,640
Port St. Lucie 340 $118,150
Tallahassee 320 $120,380
Naples 280 $121,160
Marco Island 280 $121,160
Immokalee 280 $121,160
Ocala 250 $119,630
Crestview 200 $120,590
Fort Walton Beach 200 $120,590
Destin 200 $120,590
Panama City 150 $125,350
Sebastian 140 $121,100
Vero Beach 140 $121,100
Homosassa Springs 120 $113,940
Punta Gorda 110 $119,820
The Villages 90 $106,720
Sebring 80 $118,340
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 4760 $118,220
Sandy Springs 4760 $118,220
Atlanta 4760 $118,220
Savannah 430 $112,300
Athens 260 $120,810
Clarke County 260 $120,810
Warner Robins 170 $124,820
Macon 170 $128,370
Gainesville 160 $115,850
Albany 150 $129,690
Brunswick 140 $125,590
Rome 120 $106,520
Valdosta 120 $118,610
Dalton 100 $124,110
Hinesville 30 $102,480
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 1130 $118,770
Lahaina 110 $120,310
Wailuku 110 $120,310
Kahului 110 $120,310
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 670 $118,580
Pocatello 120 $111,120
Coeur d'Alene 120 $113,620
Idaho Falls 90 $115,830
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Peoria 350 $123,040
Rockford 300 $124,240
Springfield 250 $124,200
Urbana 200 $121,830
Champaign 200 $121,830
Bloomington 160 $127,230
Decatur 120 $130,570
Carbondale 110 $126,060
Marion 110 $126,060
Danville 100 $120,160
Kankakee 100 $123,320
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 2380 $118,280
Indianapolis 2380 $118,280
Carmel 2380 $118,280
Fort Wayne 480 $124,080
Lafayette 220 $110,440
West Lafayette 220 $110,440
Muncie 170 $114,860
Terre Haute 140 $124,410
Goshen 140 $125,290
Elkhart 140 $125,290
Kokomo 90 $119,530
La Porte 80 $118,400
Michigan City 80 $118,400
Bloomington 80 $119,320
Columbus 70 $115,710
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 890 $107,110
Des Moines 890 $107,110
Iowa City 380 $112,850
Cedar Rapids 300 $111,150
Cedar Falls 160 $116,570
Waterloo 160 $116,570
Dubuque 120 $109,930
Ames 60 $112,670
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 710 $122,120
Topeka 220 $118,870
Lawrence 170 $117,570
Manhattan 90 $119,730
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lexington 600 $119,040
Fayette 600 $119,040
Bowling Green 150 $123,230
Fort Knox 110 $118,500
Elizabethtown 110 $118,500
Owensboro 80 $131,460
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 1160 $113,810
Metairie 1160 $113,810
Baton Rouge 690 $114,300
Lafayette 510 $115,110
Bossier City 340 $122,330
Shreveport 340 $122,330
Lake Charles 200 $119,580
Alexandria 190 $113,740
Monroe 190 $117,250
Thibodaux 180 $108,710
Houma 180 $108,710
Hammond 170 $114,430
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 480 $126,890
Portland 480 $126,890
Bangor 180 $128,200
Auburn 70 $124,030
Lewiston 70 $124,030
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baltimore 3300 $120,790
Towson 3300 $120,790
Columbia 3300 $120,790
Lexington Park 70 $112,690
California 70 $112,690
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 210 $118,020
New Bedford 130 $126,040
Leominster 110 $119,730
Gardner 110 $119,730
Pittsfield 70 $126,860
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Warren 3840 $115,800
Detroit 3840 $115,800
Dearborn 3840 $115,800
Wyoming 820 $117,120
Grand Rapids 820 $117,120
Ann Arbor 570 $111,720
Flint 530 $117,460
Portage 300 $117,770
Kalamazoo 300 $117,770
East Lansing 280 $119,790
Lansing 280 $119,790
Saginaw 190 $118,880
Muskegon 180 $116,120
Benton Harbor 140 $118,450
Niles 140 $118,450
Midland 100 $117,970
Jackson 100 $123,720
Monroe 80 $112,310
Battle Creek 80 $115,000
Bay City 80 $117,490
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 580 $130,200
St. Cloud 210 $133,820
North Mankato 110 $116,470
Mankato 110 $116,470
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 690 $122,990
Gulfport 370 $120,930
Pascagoula 370 $120,930
Biloxi 370 $120,930
Hattiesburg 210 $115,000
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 490 $131,590
Columbia 200 $124,100
Joplin 150 $128,580
Jefferson City N/A $135,660
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Missoula 190 $110,460
Billings 190 $117,920
Great Falls 100 $114,680
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 350 $110,960
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 1670 $123,570
Henderson 1670 $123,570
Las Vegas 1670 $123,570
Reno 370 $124,690
Carson City 40 $135,250
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 180 $127,140
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 350 $115,070
Atlantic City 260 $124,800
Hammonton 260 $124,800
Vineland 110 $118,990
Bridgeton 110 $118,990
Ocean City 100 $116,930
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 1080 $116,840
Las Cruces 120 $134,410
Santa Fe 110 $120,900
Farmington 70 $125,130
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Buffalo 1310 $120,190
Cheektowaga 1310 $120,190
Niagara Falls 1310 $120,190
Albany 1110 $119,130
Schenectady 1110 $119,130
Troy 1110 $119,130
Rochester 900 $119,830
Syracuse 560 $130,290
Utica 390 $128,710
Rome 390 $128,710
Binghamton 240 $124,710
Glens Falls 190 $127,810
Fort Drum 130 $125,250
Watertown 130 $125,250
Kingston 110 $130,240
Elmira 90 $124,020
Ithaca 40 $130,170
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 1260 $121,800
Chapel Hill 920 $121,130
Durham 920 $121,130
Salem 730 $125,850
Winston 730 $125,850
High Point 630 $124,750
Greensboro 630 $124,750
Asheville 510 $122,140
Wilmington 320 $124,280
Morganton 290 $132,220
Lenoir 290 $132,220
Hickory 290 $132,220
Greenville 280 $124,870
Fayetteville 280 $128,710
Burlington 120 $131,670
New Bern 110 $128,920
Rocky Mount 100 $137,370
Jacksonville 90 $125,310
Goldsboro 90 $131,480
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 170 $118,080
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Elyria 2390 $118,190
Cleveland 2390 $118,190
Columbus 2120 $113,850
Akron 810 $119,590
Toledo 780 $115,760
Dayton 670 $120,300
Canton 390 $120,480
Massillon 390 $120,480
Lima 150 $114,510
Springfield 110 $124,080
Mansfield 100 $122,080
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 1780 $115,880
Tulsa 740 $118,330
Lawton 130 $110,090
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Eugene 260 $122,270
Salem 250 $125,130
Medford 210 $122,840
Redmond 160 $120,900
Bend 160 $120,900
Corvallis 130 $126,320
Grants Pass 70 $123,030
Albany 60 $115,900
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 2860 $109,800
Carlisle 610 $117,770
Harrisburg 610 $117,770
Barre 570 $110,740
Hazleton 570 $110,740
Wilkes 570 $110,740
Scranton 570 $110,740
Lancaster 350 $118,320
Reading 330 $121,310
York 290 $120,830
Hanover 290 $120,830
Erie 230 $110,520
Bloomsburg 150 $114,180
Berwick 150 $114,180
Johnstown 130 $118,700
East Stroudsburg 110 $122,500
State College 100 $118,250
Altoona 100 $124,270
Lebanon 90 $111,020
Williamsport 70 $123,050
Chambersburg 70 $126,760
Waynesboro 70 $126,760
Gettysburg 30 $123,700
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Carolina 1720 $88,330
Caguas 1720 $88,330
San Juan 1720 $88,330
Ponce 130 $91,610
Isabela 90 $47,810
Aguadilla 90 $47,810
San Germ�n 70 $85,470
Arecibo 70 $92,310
Mayag�ez 70 $94,450
Guayama 50 $46,430
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 990 $119,980
North Charleston 990 $119,980
Columbia 970 $117,440
Mauldin 850 $123,350
Greenville 850 $123,350
Anderson 850 $123,350
Spartanburg 340 $129,110
Bluffton 250 $117,970
Beaufort 250 $117,970
Hilton Head Island 250 $117,970
Florence 250 $128,610
Sumter 90 $120,480
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 580 $113,180
Rapid City 140 $118,440
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 2660 $119,120
Davidson 2660 $119,120
Murfreesboro 2660 $119,120
Nashville 2660 $119,120
Knoxville 960 $122,080
Johnson City 300 $115,470
Jackson 180 $120,150
Cleveland 100 $114,910
Morristown 80 $138,970
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dallas 5730 $122,130
Arlington 5730 $122,130
Fort Worth 5730 $122,130
Sugar Land 5350 $118,020
The Woodlands 5350 $118,020
Houston 5350 $118,020
New Braunfels 1860 $125,980
San Antonio 1860 $125,980
Round Rock 1670 $120,490
Austin 1670 $120,490
El Paso 580 $121,640
Corpus Christi 440 $131,830
Edinburg 420 $144,330
Mission 420 $144,330
McAllen 420 $144,330
Lubbock 380 $124,180
Killeen 360 $115,560
Temple 360 $115,560
Port Arthur 350 $120,380
Beaumont 350 $120,380
Tyler 300 $111,470
Brownsville 260 $146,600
Harlingen 260 $146,600
Amarillo 230 $126,700
College Station 160 $128,130
Bryan 160 $128,130
Longview 150 $141,700
Abilene 140 $122,750
Waco 140 $137,370
Midland 130 $135,310
Odessa 120 $144,240
Wichita Falls 110 $127,780
Laredo 100 $149,350
Victoria 90 $139,360
Sherman 80 $123,560
Denison 80 $123,560
San Angelo 80 $127,400
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 1370 $120,500
Provo 350 $119,670
Orem 350 $119,670
Ogden 350 $121,640
Clearfield 350 $121,640
St. George 110 $124,440
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 190 $135,720
Burlington 190 $135,720
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 1490 $120,940
Roanoke 450 $131,200
Charlottesville 290 $123,470
Lynchburg 180 $126,130
Harrisonburg 110 $115,890
Waynesboro 100 $130,090
Staunton 100 $130,090
Christiansburg 100 $134,460
Blacksburg 100 $134,460
Radford 100 $134,460
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tacoma 3330 $121,970
Seattle 3330 $121,970
Bellevue 3330 $121,970
Spokane 760 $122,210
Spokane Valley 760 $122,210
Tumwater 200 $117,460
Olympia 200 $117,460
Bellingham 160 $118,410
Bremerton 160 $118,700
Silverdale 160 $118,700
Yakima 160 $122,000
Kennewick 160 $134,960
Richland 160 $134,960
Wenatchee 120 $123,310
Longview 90 $132,800
Anacortes 80 $119,710
Mount Vernon 80 $119,710
Walla Walla 50 $127,260
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 360 $122,940
Morgantown 290 $120,640
Beckley 160 $139,780
Parkersburg 120 $120,830
Vienna 120 $120,830
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 1660 $130,400
Milwaukee 1660 $130,400
Waukesha 1660 $130,400
Madison 1070 $117,240
Green Bay 300 $129,700
Racine 150 $124,500
Appleton 150 $127,080
Eau Claire 140 $131,770
Beloit 130 $123,100
Janesville 130 $123,100
Wausau 110 $122,430
Neenah 110 $134,640
Oshkosh 110 $134,640
Fond du Lac 80 $136,130
Sheboygan 60 $134,640
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheyenne 110 $120,180
Casper 80 $118,980

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Pharmacists

To find out more about building a career as Pharmacists, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Pharmacists

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Hospital 58,670 40% $104,850
Department And General Stores 29,240 20% $112,460
Grocery Stores 21,690 15% $107,420
Government 8,390 5% $99,680
Medical Office 6,690 4% $105,520
Office Services And Staffing 5,220 3% $108,340
Non-store Retailers 4,320 2% $102,490
Non-durable Goods Wholesale 3,160 2% $102,280
Business Management 1,610 1% $111,450
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
 
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CityTownInfo Career and College Resources

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Pharmacists.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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