Breaking down how pharmacy deserts and access relate to health equity

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Many think of pharmacies primarily as places to get prescription medications, but pharmacists are highly trained clinicals who offer other important health care services.

Pharmacies are a valuable health care resource, and access to pharmacies may be an overlooked contributor to health inequities. Individuals who live in pharmacy deserts aren't able to easily obtain prescription medications or essential health care services. While the overall number of pharmacies in the US has increased gradually in recent years, research shows inequitable distribution of pharmacy and pharmacy closures.

On today's episode of A Health Podyssey, Jenny Guadamuz from the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy joins Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil to discuss her research published in the May 2021 edition of Health Affairs. Guadamuz and colleagues investigated the accessibility of pharmacies by neighborhood racial and ethnic composition in large US cities from 2007 to 2015.

They found fewer pharmacies and more pharmacy closures located in predominantly black and Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods when compared with other neighborhoods.

Listen to Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil interview Jenny Guadamuz discuss this foundational research on pharmacy access and how policies can encourage pharmacies to operate in pharmacy deserts.

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