Pharmacy deserts: A US Problem Aussies can learn from!

The head of a discount pharmacy group stated that pharmacy location rules aren't beneficial to the community. However, the US has over 40% of areas that have limited access to pharmacies. Believe it or not, many areas lack a convenient pharmacy leading to pharmacy deserts where individuals have to drive over 15 minutes to reach a nearby pharmacy. 

Pharmacy deserts are caused as in the US there is a lack of regulations and incentives to encourage pharmacies to serve underserved areas. There are no federal laws regulating pharmacy location or spacing, leaving it up to individual states to determine their own rules and regulations.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) act as middlemen by negotiating deals between insurers and pharmacies, thus creating pharmacy networks that may limit patient access to medication if their pharmacy is not in the network this may result in patients having to travel further to access their medication overall inconveniencing patients and lead to delayed or skipped medication, ultimately affecting their health outcomes.

Now, let's talk about Australia. We have location rules which encourage the spread of pharmacies. And the PBS which is available to anyone with a Medicare card ensuring equal access to medicines.
how this The Impact on patients
Pharmacy deserts create challenges for patients seeking medications. The long distances add inconvenience and costs. They may also lead to patients skipping or delaying their medications, ultimately affecting their health outcomes.

According to The Guild, In capital cities, 95 per cent of consumers are no further than 2.5 km from a pharmacy. In regional areas, 72 per cent of people are within 2.5 km of a pharmacy. lucky for us our location rules and Medicare system play a vital role in preventing pharmacy deserts. By ensuring equal access to pharmacies, we can protect vulnerable populations and avoid the issues plaguing our friends across the pond.
Let's appreciate the importance of location rules and take pride in avoiding those deserts.