The Availability of Buprenorphine at Retail Pharmacies in the United States: Trends, Disparities, and Outcomes
Barriers in access to buprenorphine at retail pharmacies, particularly those serving low-income areas and communities of color, may contribute to gaps in treatment for people with opioid use disorder. Researchers will use data from 60,000 chain and independent pharmacies to assess the availability and dispensing of buprenorphine at the national, state, county, and community levels. The pharmacy-level data will be linked to publicly available information about a given community, including poverty rates, its racial/ethnic composition, and overdose mortality rates. The researchers will also examine how regulatory requirements influence buprenorphine availability. The combined analyses will help to identify neighborhoods that lack pharmacy access to buprenorphine and populations most at-risk for buprenorphine discontinuation when their pharmacy stops carrying it.