A Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center study shows that pharmacies may be able to collaborate with families and physicians to reduce asthma-related illness.

The researchers classified medications as either controller or rescue. They then calculated a dispensing ratio for each pharmacy by dividing all dispensed controller medications by the sum of all controller plus all rescue medications. Census tracts with pharmacies that had a lower ratio had significantly higher utilization rates, even after accounting for their higher rates of poverty and more limited car availability.

Pharmacies located in high utilization census tracts — those with more asthma attacks — were also found to dispense more rescue medications than controller medications throughout the year. The opposite was true for pharmacies in low-utilization, or healthy, census tracts.

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