The National Community Pharmacists Association is working with the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy and Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics to tackle barriers to pharmacy access, including closures.
The organizations’ Pharmacy Access Initiative will generate real-time information for various officials, academics and industry leaders to identify communities that lack pharmacy access. The research on these pharmacy desserts is currently underway, with the expectation that it will be released in the coming months, the organizations said.
[Read more: Holding on to pharmacy’s pandemic-era gains]
“We know that many patients live within 5 miles of a pharmacy, but what about those who don’t? What about those with mobility or transportation limitations or other challenges where 5 miles might as well be 500 miles? Where could they access COVID-19 vaccines or other needed health care services? What can be done to help these communities have access to pharmacy care?” said Douglas Hoey, CEO of NCPA. “These are the types of questions we’re looking to help answer through our Pharmacy Access Initiative partnership with USC. We’re grateful for this opportunity to collaborate on such an important issue for patients across the country.”
Dima Qato, USC Hygeia Centennial Chair, associate professor of pharmacy and spatial sciences and senior fellow at the Schaeffer Center, said, “Despite growing concerns about barriers in pharmacy access, including closures, national, state and local policy officials often lack the evidence base to promptly respond to, and inform, regulations or legislation to protect neighbor-hoods and pharmacies most at-risk. Therefore, the goal of this new USC-NCPA Pharmacy Access Initiative is to serve as a resource for federal and state policy and public health officials by conducting research and generating real-time evidence on the scope and impact of the problem of pharmacy access and identifying sustainable policy solutions to address it.”