Disparities in Access to Essential New Prescription Drugs between Non-Hispanic Whites, Non-Hispanic Blacks, and Hispanic Whites

The University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Medical Care Research and Review (Impact Factor: 2.62). 01/2007; 63(6):742-63. DOI: 10.1177/1077558706293638
Source: PubMed


Prior studies do not address racial and ethnic disparities in essential new drug use and whether disparities decrease through time. Using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (1996-2001), racial and ethnic disparities were examined separately by comparing non-Hispanic whites to non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanic whites, respectively. New drugs were defined as approved within the past 5 years, and an expert panel identified essential drugs. Negative binomial models adjusted for socioeconomic and health characteristics. The mean annual number of times essential new drugs were obtained among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Hispanic whites were 1.02, 0.94, and 0.70, respectively. After adjusting for confounders, ethnic disparities generally were not significant, but racial disparities became significant. This study did not identify declining disparities during early years of drugs' life cycles. Disparities exist in new, essential drug acquisition between non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks. Socioeconomic and health characteristics explain many of the observed disparities.

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