A pharmacist’s 3-year campaign has finally achieved its goal of allowing people to donate their expensive unused medications to individuals who can’t afford them.
Though there are programs across the country that allow hospitals and health care facilities to accept donated medications, this will be the first piece of statewide legislation that will allow individuals to donate unused medication, excluding controlled substances.
The medication must be unexpired and in its original packaging in order to be donated. For now, the program will only be accepting up to 30 different kinds of medications, most of which will be oral chemotherapy drugs and medications for transplant patients – but legislators hope to expand the program to include more medications as the program grows.
The initiative has reportedly come to fruition thanks to the efforts of Phil Baker, the founder of Good Shepherd Pharmacy. Over the course of the last three years, his nonprofit pharmacy has specialized in putting costly medications that are donated by manufacturers into the hands of low-income or uninsured people for free or dramatically reduced prices.
“All the new chemos are coming out as pills, but they cost $30,000 and up for a one-month supply,” Baker told the Daily Memphian. “Most patients can’t afford them and half are getting thrown away.”
The charity has been serving over 2,500 poor Tennesseans from their location in Memphis by salvaging over $10 million worth of prescription drugs from ending up in the trash.
Baker’s success with the charity then spurred him to work with the Department of Health and the Board of Pharmacy to create a framework for the repository program.
“I would have people come in with a bag of medicine and say, ‘My grandpa was on hospice. Now, I have all this medicine. Can you give it to poor people?’” Baker told the Memphian. “I looked into it and it was illegal, so I sketched out what the law should look like.”
According to the news outlet, the legislation received the stamp of approval from the Department of Health and Human Services last week. Baker says that he hopes to start distributing the donated medications by January 1st.
If you’d like to register as a prospective medication donor or join the wait list as a recipient, you can visit the program’s website.
Cure Your Friends Of Negativity By Sharing The Good News To Social Media – Photo by Good Shepherd Pharmacy