Racial disparities in prescription drug use among dually eligible beneficiaries

Health Care Financ Rev. 2003 Winter;25(2):77-90.


Well-documented racial disparities in use of medical services raise concerns about such disparities in other aspects of health care. We compare the difference in Medicaid pharmacy use between black and white dually eligible Medicare beneficiaries. Controlling for the presence of chronic illnesses, we find that black beneficiaries have significantly fewer prescriptions filled and lower pharmacy costs in 8 of the 10 States examined, despite having higher physician costs. If this disparity stems from a lack of provider or beneficiary knowledge, programs to educate providers or beneficiaries may hold the greatest promise for reducing it, whether pharmacy coverage is obtained from Medicaid or from a new Medicare benefit.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease / drug therapy
  • Chronic Disease / economics*
  • Drug Prescriptions / economics*
  • Drug Utilization
  • Eligibility Determination / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Pharmaceutical Services / economics
  • Insurance, Pharmaceutical Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • State Health Plans / economics
  • State Health Plans / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States