Chicago's south and west side ar­eas lack ac­cess to phar­ma­cies

South Florida Times - - HEALTH -

CHICAGO - Pub­lic health ex­perts say neigh­bor­hoods in Chicago's south and west sides are be­com­ing “phar­macy deserts,'' with lim­ited ac­cess to phar­ma­cies.

Data ob­tained by the Chicago Tri­bune shows that as of mid-2017 there were about 500 ac­tive phar­ma­cies in Chicago.

But re­search shows that most of the neigh­bor­hoods with fewer phar­ma­cies had a higher rate of opi­oid-re­lated deaths. Those com­mu­ni­ties also had more low-in­come res­i­dents and/or black and His­panic res­i­dents.

Ex­perts ar­gue that phar­ma­cies are im­por­tant to all com­mu­ni­ties be­cause they of­fer a va­ri­ety of ser­vices, in­clud­ing phys­i­cals, im­mu­niza­tions, trans­mit­ted in­fec­tion screen­ing and other lab­o­ra­tory test­ing. Dima Qato is an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor in the depart­ment of phar­macy sys­tems, out­comes and pol­icy at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois at Chicago. She says fo­cus on in­surance isn't enough. Qato says if med­i­ca­tions are af­ford­able, but there's no phar­macy nearby, then “they're not ac­ces­si­ble.” City of Chicago's mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties are in a phar­macy desert.

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