Pharmacy Deserts & Oases

US poor and minority areas turning into pharmacy deserts” — Al Jazeera, 2019, 2:25

How many pharmacies are there in your neighborhood? This brief video introduces the concepts of pharmacy deserts and pharmacy oases. Much like food deserts, a term used to describe the lack of fresh foods in low-income areas, pharmacy deserts describe areas without accessible medicine. These areas also tend to be lower income as well as communities of color. The irony is that many areas in the United States have an overabundance of pharmacies, such as places where a CVS is located across the street from a Walgreens. These oases of retail pharmacies tend to spring up in wealthier areas where access to prescription drugs is not an issue. What other social factors are related to the number of pharmacies within a given area? How could we make prescription drugs and other services more accessible in areas without nearby pharmacies?

From the video’s description: More and more minority neighbourhoods in US cities are becoming what healthcare experts call "pharmacy deserts". From Oregon on the west coast to Baltimore on the east, local drug stores are closing up shop in low-income and minority neighbourhoods. The decisions may be based on profitability, but with the widening scope of services pharmacies offer in the United States - like physicals, immunisations, drug counselling, sexually transmitted infection screening and other laboratory testing - residents of poor neighbourhoods struggle to access an increasingly important part of the national healthcare system. Al Jazeera's John Hendren reports from Chicago.