Life-saving medication are being thrown on hearth, however Colorado is doing its half to finish the observe
DENVER – Life saving drugs that you paid for with your tax dollars are being thrown day in and day out, but an organization here in Colorado is trying to save those unused drugs to help those who can least afford them.
“It’s being shredded and destroyed. This drug was paid for by Medicare, ”said pharmacist Joel Luca.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that nursing homes alone throw about 740 tons of medication into incinerators each year. These are just nursing homes. Pharmacies and manufacturers also throw away perfectly good, sealed drugs once they are almost out of date.
Steve Hayslett used to be a retail pharmacist. He says there is a massive oversupply of drugs that are simply never consumed.
“Most of them are expensive,” said Hayslett. “Your drugs for asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, high blood pressure and cholesterol that people need every day to survive.”
In Colorado, law allows dozens of prescription drug collections to be donated to low-cost or free drug distribution clinics.
The organization that does this work is the Open Bible Medical Clinic in Colorado Springs. A California-based distribution company called Sirum helps nonprofits get medicines where they are needed.
Sirum and Open Bible are collecting and donating $ 250,000 worth of prescription drugs from more than 40 Colorado nursing homes that would otherwise have been destroyed.
“Many of these drugs were bought and destroyed with taxpayers’ money,” said Jeff Martin, Open Bible executive director. “And now they are being used to help community members and neighbors across our state. I think that’s a big plus. “
But $ 250,000 a year is a drop in the ocean compared to the Colorado health facilities that are thrown each year. Open Bible and Sirum would like to see more of these drugs donated and given to those who cannot afford them.
But perhaps the biggest gap in potential for programs like this one concerns drug manufacturers, who have little incentive to break through red tape to donate and are already making billions of dollars in profits.
Colorado law protects donors from liability, and lawmakers have significantly reduced the administrative burden to encourage more donations so that more of this life-saving medication can get to the people who need it most.
“None of them have expired. Of course, none of them are manipulated, ”said Martin. “All seals are intact. You have to meet all the refrigeration requirements just like any other drug that comes into a pharmacy. “
Colorado is one of 38 states that have legislated formulas for drug donation programs.
The problem is that more than half of these states have not yet got their programs off the ground.
In those states that do not have operative donation programs, low-cost clinics have to pay for the unused drugs and then offer them to low-income patients at reduced costs – costs that are still out of reach for many of these patients.
The Contact7 investigation team