A report released Friday shows a lot of Iowans have benefited from a program that re-dispenses prescription drugs that would normally be destroyed. The Iowa Prescription Drug Donation Repository Program was launched in May of 2007. In it’s first full year of operation, program director David Fries says 3,000 low-income Iowans received needed medications for free. "We’ve been told that if they didn’t have our meds, they just simply wouldn’t buy meds," Fries said.
About 98-percent of the drugs are donated to the program by pharmacies that serve long-term care facilities. The re-dispensed meds – shipped to clinics, doctor’s offices and other health care facilities – carried a retail value of nearly $660,000. Fries says the drugs donated to the program were valued at just over $977,000.
Patients who fall below 200-percent of the federal poverty level or who are uninsured or underinsured are eligible to receive the donated medications. Currently, around 40 clinics or hospitals in the state participate in the program. Fries says many doctors and nurses tell him the free drugs are resulting in fewer hospital visits and trips to the E-R. "We believe that by making sure people have a continuous supply of their medications, you are going to keep them out of hospitals and emergency rooms…as well as keeping them productive in society, by having them employed and stuff of this nature," Fries said.
The Iowa Prescription Drug Donation Repository Program is administered by the Iowa Prescription Drug Corporation. Grants from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Collaborative Safety Net Provider Network pay for the program.