Las farmacias de las esquinas, que alguna vez estuvieron tanto en las grandes ciudades como en los pueblos rurales, están desapareciendo de muchas áreas del país, dejando a unos 41 millones de estadounidenses en lo que se conoce como “desiertos de farmacias”, sin fácil acceso a las farmacias.
More than 1,000 independent rural pharmacies have closed since 2003, leaving 630 communities with no retail drugstore. As 41 million people stuck in pharmacy deserts make do, the remaining drugstores struggle to survive.
Pharmacy benefit managers have curtailed in-person audits of pharmacy claims during the pandemic, switching to virtual audits done by computer. That has markedly increased the number of claims they can review — and the chances for payment denials — squeezing pharmacies and bringing in more cash for the benefit companies.
As more independently owned community pharmacies close, a Colorado town is crowdsourcing ways of getting prescription medicines delivered to those who can’t travel the long distance to the closest pharmacy. But even those stopgap measures don’t always work.
Pandemic lockdowns exacerbated long-standing economic pressures on pharmacies — and forced many owner-operated shops to evolve or risk closing their doors.
Pharmacies are poised to start filling the gaps to vaccinate all of America against covid. Where does that leave people in rural counties that lack pharmacies?