Illustrating access to community pharmacies in Wisconsin

J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2021 Jul-Aug;61(4):492-499. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2021.02.004. Epub 2021 Feb 17.


Objectives: Community pharmacists also play a vital public health role in increasing access to health care services and information during times of public health crisis. To examine access to community pharmacies in Wisconsin and the relationship between pharmacy locations and primary care health professional shortage areas (HPSAs).

Methods: A list of licensed pharmacies in Wisconsin was screened to identify community pharmacies. Rural-urban commuting area codes were used to classify the rurality of pharmacy locations. Descriptive measures and pharmacy location maps were used to assess access to community pharmacies in the state as well as the relationship between pharmacy locations and primary care HPSAs. Spatial analysis was conducted to estimate the percentage of the population that lives within 10-, 20-, and 30-minute drive times of each community pharmacy.

Results: Of the 837 community pharmacies in Wisconsin, 73 (68.5%) were located in metropolitan areas, 95 (11.4%) in micropolitan areas, 112 (13.4%) in small towns, and 57 (6.8%) in rural areas. A total of 265 (31.7%) community pharmacies were located in a primary care HPSA. The drive-time analysis found that 99.7% of the population lives within 30 minutes of a pharmacy, 98.7% within 20 minutes of a pharmacy, and 89.3% within 10 minutes of a pharmacy.

Conclusions: Nearly the entire Wisconsin population has convenient access to community pharmacies. Community pharmacies are ideally located in underserved areas with shortages of other health professionals, which may provide an opportunity for pharmacists to take on additional clinical roles to support health care providers and facilities in these areas.

MeSH terms

  • Community Pharmacy Services*
  • Humans
  • Pharmacies*
  • Pharmacists
  • Rural Population
  • Wisconsin