Variation in Drug Prices at Pharmacies
Are Prices Higher in Poorer Areas?
Published In: HSR: Health Services Research, v. 44, no. 2, p. 1, Apr. 2009, p. 606-617
Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2008
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether retail prices for prescription drugs are higher in poorer areas. DATA SOURCES: The MyFloridarx.com website, which provides retail prescription prices at Florida pharmacies, and median ZIP code income from the 2000 Census. STUDY DESIGN: The authors compared mean pharmacy prices for each of the four study drugs across ZIP code income groups. Pharmacies were classified as either chain pharmacies or independent pharmacies. DATA COLLECTION: Prices were downloaded in November 2006. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Across the four study drugs, mean prices were highest in the poorest ZIP codes: 9 percent above the statewide average. Independent pharmacies in the poorest ZIP codes charged the highest mean prices. CONCLUSIONS: Retail prescription prices appear to be higher in poorer ZIP codes of Florida.