US poor and minority areas turning into ‘pharmacy deserts’

Pharmacies are closing in what they consider unprofitable poor and minority neighbourhoods in the US, often times depriving residents of access to medicine, counselling and local clinics.

More and more minority neighbourhoods in US cities are becoming what healthcare experts call “pharmacy deserts”.

From Oregon on the west coast to Baltimore on the east, local drug stores are closing up shop in low-income and minority neighbourhoods.

The decisions may be based on profitability, but with the widening scope of services pharmacies offer in the United States – like physicals, immunisations, drug counselling, sexually transmitted infection screening and other laboratory testing – residents of poor neighbourhoods struggle to access an increasingly important part of the national healthcare system.

Al Jazeera’s John Hendren reports from Chicago.