Access to Rural Pharmacy Services in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota


Describes the current status of rural retail pharmacies in the three states; examines the availability of pharmacy services in rural areas of the states; and analyzes regulatory and policy issues that affect the delivery of pharmacy services in rural areas. Among the findings are that pharmacy access problems in the states are not primarily due to closure of rural pharmacies in recent years; relief coverage is a major concern for many rural pharmacies; financial access to pharmacy services is a major concern in rural areas of the states; the financial viability of rural pharmacies is a key policy issue; and the addition of a Medicare prescription benefit may have a substantial negative impact on the financial status of rural pharmacies. Makes several recommendations pertaining to the capacity of colleges of pharmacy to produce an adequate supply of rural pharmacists; options for providing affordable relief coverage for rural pharmacists; financial access to prescription drug coverage for the elderly and other vulnerable populations; and the potential financial impact of a Medicare prescription benefit on rural pharmacies.

University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Michelle Casey, Jill Klingner, Ira Moscovice