Researchers identify “pharmacy deserts” as a potential explanation for disparities in the use of prescription medications
Disparities in medication adherence in the United States have long been attributed to affordability, but a study by Dima M. Qato of the University of Illinois School of Pharmacy in Chicago and coauthors finds that pharmacy deserts, or neighborhoods with limited access to pharmacies, are more common in largely black and Hispanic communities.
The authors conclude that racial and ethnic minorities may face barriers other than cost in accessing prescription medications and note the need to address factors beyond insurance coverage and medication affordability. The authors suggest that incorporating pharmacies into community health centers and offering financial incentives for pharmacies to locate in these areas could be two policy options.
Research: ‘Pharmacy Deserts’ Are Prevalent In Chicago’s Predominantly Minority Communities, Raising Medication Access Concerns, Dima M. Qato, Martha L. Daviglus, Jocelyn Wilder, Todd Lee, Danya Qato and Bruce Lambert, Health Affairs, doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2013.1397, published November 2014.
Source: Health Affairs