One cause for worse well being outcomes for racial minorities may very well be diminished entry to pharmacies. However, how large an issue is pharmacy entry? A current Health Affairs paper by Guadamuz et al. (2021) makes use of 2007-2015 knowledge from the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) to determine pharmacies, which have been then geocoded and linked to the American Community Survey (ACS) to acquire census tract degree neighborhood traits. These knowledge got here from cities with greater than 500,000 people. The key outcomes of curiosity have been (i) the variety of pharmacies in an space and (ii) whether or not the census tract was a “pharmacy desert”, based mostly on whether or not the imply distances to the closest pharmacy exceed a particular threshold.
Using this method, the authors discovered that:
In 2015 there have been disproportionately extra pharmacy deserts in Black or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods than in White or various neighborhoods, together with these that aren’t federally designated Medically Underserved Areas. These disparities have been most pronounced in Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Dallas, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; and Albuquerque, New Mexico. We additionally discovered that Black and Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods have been extra prone to expertise pharmacy closures in contrast with different neighborhoods.
As these knowledge come from 2015, it might be attention-grabbing to see if the well being affect of a scarcity of pharmacies has attenuated if there was an elevated use of on-line pharmacies. On the opposite hand, in 2021, the well being affect could also be extra important as an growing variety of people are getting their COVID-19 vaccines from pharmacies and a scarcity of minority entry to pharmacies additionally has the potential to delay the COVID-19 pandemic.