Georgia lawmakers taking steps to fill in pharmacy deserts across the state

ATLANTA — Pharmacy deserts are hitting both rural and urban communities as many pharmacies continue to close.

The Associated Press provided data to Channel 2 Action News showing how those shuttered pharmacies are affecting neighborhoods.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Ashli Lincoln has learned that Georgia lawmakers are taking steps to protect Georgians.

Georgia lawmakers say the main reason why a lot of pharmacies are closing is due to inflated drug costs.

One Georgia lawmaker formed a bipartisan initiative to prevent third parties from inflating costs.

That’s why making sure there’s accessible and adequate healthcare in rural Georgia is personal for Dr. Ashley Cobb.

“We provide such a tremendous, a tremendous help to the community,” Cobb said.

As pharmacies across the country and the state of Georgia close, providers with Valley Healthcare saw fit to open a pharmacy in the town of Talbotton.

“It was very convenient,” patient Joann Flantory said.

Cobb said not only is it the first pharmacy in nearly 10 years, but they’ve also received government funding to make the drugs more affordable.


“It’s such a financial burden to be able to afford and not only have access,” Cobb said.

Cobb said many independent pharmacies have difficulty staying open because of the high cost of drugs which makes it difficult for independent pharmacies to afford.

“There are more patients than providers that are readily available, so the work is hard,” Cobb said.

Data provided to Channel 2 Action News by the Associated Press, it shows of the 2,179 pharmacies open in the state of Georgia, 59.94% are owned by chains and %39.70 are independently owned.

However, the AP said Georiga is one of a handful of states they were not able to get the number of closures based on zip codes because of the way the state of Georgia classifies its pharmacies.

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter told Channel 2 Action News that that needs to change.

The House passed Carter’s bipartisan legislation addressing specific practices that have aided in drug cost inflation.

In a statement, he said, “I’ll do my part in Congress to advocate for these meaningful solutions for Georgians.”

“If you don’t have medication, you don’t go to the doctor,” Flantory said.

Carter said he’s also calling on Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to join him to advocate for solutions.


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