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June 07, 2024

Pharmacy closures leave Black, Latino neighborhoods without access to services, AP analysis finds

In cities across the U.S., major retail pharmacies have closed hundreds of stores over the past few years and independents can’t always afford to stay open, leaving residents of color without easy access to not only prescriptions but also fundamental public health services like vaccinations, over-the-counter medicines and even food (Source: “In cities across the US, Black and Latino neighborhoods have less access to pharmacies,” Associated Press, June 4).

Closures create “a situation where there’s not just (a lack of) investment in terms of pharmacy development and expansion, but there’s no incentive to stay in those neighborhoods,” said Dima Qato, a professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of Southern California who has studied pharmacy access.

An Associated Press analysis of licensing data from 44 states, data from the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs and the American Community Survey shows residents of neighborhoods that are majority Black and Hispanic have fewer pharmacies per capita than people who live in mostly white neighborhoods.