Bill authored by Rep. Charlie Brown to study pharmacy desert issue passes House committee

January 30, 2018 Charlie Brown

INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Charlie Brown’s (D-Gary) legislation focusing on pharmacy deserts has unanimously passed through the House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee.

House Bill 1382 urges the Legislature to study ways to eliminate pharmacy deserts in rural and urban areas of Indiana.

“We need to do a study on pharmacy deserts, because right now we are leaving our most vulnerable constituents without access to their medication,” Rep. Brown commented. “The series of closings of Walgreens and CVS Pharmacies in my district makes me concerned that there are other areas of Indiana facing the same problems.”

A pharmacy desert is an underserved area where access to a pharmacy is limited by:

• At least 25 percent of the households in a rural town or urban neighborhood are living below the federal income poverty level.
• The median family income of these residents is not more than 80 percent of the median family income of Indiana.
• A rural town, metropolitan census tract, or urban neighborhood in which at least 500 residents or at least 33 percent of the population lives more than one mile from a pharmacy.
• A nonmetropolitan census tract in which at least 500 residents or at least 33 percent of the population lives more than ten miles from a pharmacy.

Gary Mayor Karen Marie Freeman-Wilson and Gary Councilwoman Rebecca Wyatt came to testify in support of the bill.

The study committee would have the ability to identify solutions that can be effective in eliminating pharmacy-based deserts and identifying potential sources of income for a pharmacy desert program.

“Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and starting a study committee will help ensure that all of our constituents have proper access to their medications,” Rep. Brown said.