The Community Safety Net and Prescription Drug Access for Low-Income, Uninsured People

Publication Date: April 2006

Publisher: Center for Studying Health System Change

Author(s): Laurie E. Felland; Erin Fries Taylor; Anneliese M. Gerland

Research Area: Health

Type: Brief


While the new Medicare drug benefit has helped alleviate concerns about prescription drug access for elderly and disabled Americans, many low-income, uninsured people under age 65 continue to rely on community safety nets to get needed medications. As the number of uninsured Americans increases, safety net providers are stretching limited resources to meet growing prescription drug needs, according to findings from the Center for Studying Health System Change’s (HSC) 2005 site visits to 12 nationally representative communities. Despite redoubled efforts—centered on obtaining discounted drugs and donated medications—to make affordable drugs available to needy patients, safety net providers and community advocates report that many low-income, uninsured people continue to face major barriers to obtaining prescription drugs.