The Effects of Sickle Cell Disease Disparity


How a decades-long issue has resulted in at-need patients lacking confident, available physicians.

Despite it being the most common inherited blood disorder in the US, sickle cell disease is distinguished as a particularly significant burden in its African American and Hispanic patients.

As is the case for many debilitating diseases, there’s a multitude of factors which influence sickle cell disease’s disparity. It doesn’t come as a shock to hear from Ted Love, MD, that it’s a decades-long problem, even.

In an interview with HCPLive, Love, chief executive officer of Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT), discussed his perspective on sickle cell disease disparity—from his upbringing in the segregated South, to first exposure to patients as a resident.

And now, in his position at GBT, Love finds himself in a position to help address the issue. Among the greatest factors that needs to be addressed is that of physician availability.

“It’s not accidental, we’ve actually created this problem,” Love explained. “We do not pay physicians properly for treating patients that are on Medicaid, for example. And if you don’t pay physicians appropriately, then that’s effectively a disincentive.”

About half of all US sickle cell patients, Love said, are on Medicaid.

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