Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Recycling unused prescriptions

Elizabeth Landsverk, MD, with ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine, says that in 2012, 28%, more than a quarter, of adults with chronic conditions skipped doses of a drug or did not fill the presciption in the first place because of high cost.

At the same time, hospitals, pharmacies, manufacturers and nursing homes toss out unused meds worth billions. Often this ends up in our water or is dumped or burned.

In 1997, state legislatures began taking action on letting people donate and reuse such meds. These programs create repositories allowing such drugs to be donated and then re-dispensed to needy patients.

As of mid-2016, 38 states had such programs, although not all were fully functioning. Too, such programs do not allow people to donate drugs, just institutions.

In 2015, California opened the Better Health Pharmacy in San Jose.  There is no copay for insured patients and no need to have insurance. All patients need is a valid prescription. No proof of residency, citizenship or income is needed.

The drugs most commonly distributed are for asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression.

Controlled substances are not donated or distributed.

Does your state have some sort of program? You could check.

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