According to a new study from the University of Michigan Health System, minorities and people with low incomes have less access to pain medication from their local pharmacies than do well-off white people.
The study, which compared the availability of opioid pain relievers in pharmacies from different areas, found that these drugs were more readily available in upscale ZIP codes than in poorer neighborhoods. While researchers point out that most of the pharmacies had "sufficient" supplies of medication--defined as at least one drug in each of three categories--the gap in the number of local pharmacies that stocked sufficient supplies was significant: 86.9% vs. 54.2%.
Inadequate pain relief is a problem across the country, which makes it especially distressing to learn that one group is particularly underserved in this regard.
The study is published in today's issue (vol 6, issue 10) of the Journal of Pain.