Access to pharmacies is a crucial part of healthcare for countless Americans. In addition to dispensing life-saving medications and vaccines — including the vaccines for COVID-19 — pharmacists also function as knowledgeable care providers to the communities they serve.
Pharmacies are often more accessible than doctors’ offices, which require an appointment and sometimes a waiting period of months, and may be some distance away. Pharmacists also provide consultation and information regarding possible drug interactions. (These are the 25 most dangerous drugs.)
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that analyzed the medical interactions of over 680,000 Medicare recipients found that visits to pharmacies were significantly more numerous than those to primary care providers. (Here are 20 things pharmacists want you to know.)
Many Americans, however, live in pharmacy deserts — even in major metropolises. A recent study showed that nearly 15 million people in America’s 30 largest cities don’t have convenient access to a pharmacy. A majority of those people are black or Latino, a fact that highlights the racial disparities that exist in our current healthcare system.
24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the 50 counties around the country with the most pharmacies per capita. Only counties with populations of 25,000 or more were included (the county with the highest pharmacy-to-inhabitant ratio, Hodgeman in Kansas, for instance, has a population of only 1,876).
To identify the counties with the most pharmacies, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a study provided by USA RX on pharmacies by state, using internal data from the U.S Census Bureau. Only counties with populations of 25,000 or more were included (the county with the highest pharmacy-to-inhabitant ratio, Hodgeman in Kansas, for instance, has a population of only 1,876). The percentage of population reporting sub-optimal health is from the 2021 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Of the 50 counties included, a majority are in the South, with 11 in Kentucky, seven in Georgia, five in West Virginia, four each in Alabama and Mississippi, and three in Virginia.
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