Variation in drug prices at pharmacies: are prices higher in poorer areas?


Gellad WF, Choudhry NK, Friedberg MW, Brookhart MA, Haas JS, Shrank WH. Variation in drug prices at pharmacies: are prices higher in poorer areas? [Internet]. Health Services Research 2009;44:606-17.

Date Published:



OBJECTIVE: To determine whether retail prices for prescription drugs are higher in poorer areas. DATA SOURCES: The website, which provides retail prescription prices at Florida pharmacies, and median ZIP code income from the 2000 Census. STUDY DESIGN: We 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.


Gellad, Walid FChoudhry, Niteesh KFriedberg, Mark WBrookhart, M AlanHaas, Jennifer SShrank, William HK23 HL090505-02/HL/NHLBI NIH HHS/United StatesK23HL090505-01/HL/NHLBI NIH HHS/United StatesComparative StudyResearch Support, N.I.H., ExtramuralResearch Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tUnited StatesHealth services researchHealth Serv Res. 2009 Apr;44(2 Pt 1):606-17. Epub 2008 Nov 4.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 02/02/2016