States May Recycle Prescription Drugs To Reduce Costs For Uninsured

Armen Hareyan's picture

At least 33U.S.states have implemented laws to allow or study programs that redistributeunused prescription medications to uninsured or low-income individuals,according to the National Conference of StateLegislatures, the AP/Arizona Daily Star reports.

Some of the states allow individuals to donate sealed drugs, while others allowonly prescription drugs donated from institutions, including physician officesand assisted living facilities. The drugs typically are examined by pharmacistsfor consumer safety and then are distributed by hospitals, pharmacies orcharitable clinics.

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David Fries, CEO of the Iowa Prescription Drug Corporation, said drug recycling programsreduce costs "by just working with one patient and saving them and keepingthem out of the hospital over the long term." Some health care experts sayit is too soon to determine the programs' cost-saving benefits to emergencydepartments and other providers caring for the uninsured.

Some state officials say that the drug redistribution programs, which dependlargely on donations, are not lasting solutions to address the health careproblems of the uninsured and low-income. However, the AP/Daily Starreports that officials say the programs can "help plug gaps in medicationfor those who live paycheck to paycheck." While most of the programs stillare new or in the test phase, state officials predict an increase in theprograms' popularity, according to the AP/Daily Star (Choi, AP/ArizonaDaily Star, 4/7).

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Is there anywhere unused prescription drugs can be donated? Because my husband is sensitive to prescription medication, he will sometimes only use a very small amount before he cannot tolerate it anymore. Usually these meds are a 30-day supply. It seems such a waste to throw them out. These include pills as well as sealed patches?