Building a more just and equitable health care system
PhRMA believes that diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to the discovery of new medicines and that every individual and community should have equitable access to medicines and treatments. We are working to support and elevate community-centered solutions to health inequities and policy solutions to reduce disparities.
The Collaborative Actions to Reach Equity (CAREs) grants aim to support community-centered solutions to address health inequities through grant to community-led organizations and academic centers. These awards support local and national research and activities to drive meaningful change to advance health equity.
Explore and download PhRMA's first-ever health equity chart pack. This chart pack spotlights the patient experience in the health care system, recognizing and visualizing the structural and social inequities that underserved communities face when seeking health care services and medicines.
Social Determinants of Health Impact Access to Medicines
Addressing Social Determinants of Health
Social determinants of health are circumstances in which people live, learn, work, and play. These factors significantly impact patients’ health outcomes and access to health care. Addressing social determinants of health, including systemic racism, will help reduce health inequities.
PhRMA believes that diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to the discovery of new medicines and that people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds should have equitable access to treatment. To illuminate inequities in the health care system, PhRMA created an exercise to simulate the patient experience of acquiring prescription medicines in an effort to paint a real picture of the social and structural factors many Americans face that impact their health and ability to access medicines.
Click or tap below to enter the simulation.
Access to Providers and Screenings
Poor Access to Screenings and Diagnostics
Health equity means that all patients have the opportunity to reach their highest health potential – and accessing medicines and health care services is an important part of the equation. Poor access to screenings and diagnostics can delay treatment for cancer and other diseases and worsen outcomes among underserved communities.
Ability to Fill a Prescription
Insurance Barriers to Medication Access
Even for insured patients, high out-of-pocket costs can be a hurdle to medication access. Many common insurance design features leave patients unable to afford their medicines and can disproportionally hinder access for disadvantaged communities.
Health Equity Reports and Agency Comments
Access to prescription medications helps patients manage their health conditions, decreases avoidable health care costs, and reduces mortality. However, marked inequities in access to medicines disproportionately impact underserved populations.
As health insurance benefit designs increasingly shift prescription drug costs to patients or impose other barriers to access, the impact disproportionately falls on people of color. This report outlines how many common commercial health insurance benefit design features create barriers to access medicines.
In the United States, nearly one in ten new prescriptions were never picked up at the pharmacy in 2020. However, medicine abandonment does not impact all populations equally. This can lead to worse health outcomes for these patients and further contribute to existing gaps in health equity.
Closing the gaps in equitable access to health care begins by understanding where they are and who they affect. To facilitate this visibility, public health officials, health plans, hospitals, and other stakeholders require detailed data on the prevalence and drivers of health disparities. However, at present, these data sets are rarely robust or complete.
As part of our commitment to health equity, PhRMA has prepared the following report — and call to action — on the causes of critical health data gaps and how the public and private sector can join us in closing them and reducing health disparities.
Consistent with our priority of building a more just, equitable health care system, PhRMA believes that diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to the discovery of new medicines and that people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds should have equitable access to treatment.
Stay Updated on PhRMA’s Equity Initiative
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Health care policy should get us closer to health equity. The Inflation Reduction Act fails to do so.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) took important steps to lower costs for some patients by capping annual out-of-pocket costs and allowing beneficiaries to spread their costs over the course of the year in Medicare Part D. Unfortunately, the IRA’s price setting policies do more harm than good for many patients. In particular, the negative impacts are most likely to be felt by underserved communities, who disproportionately bear the burden of many illnesses. This is a system-level miss by Congress that further cements health inequities in the United States.