Revamp helps underserved, keeps unwanted meds out of waste stream
Nonprofit TLC Pharmacy in Colorado Springs was struggling to provide prescription medications to indigent clients. Meanwhile, Colorado long-term care facilities were paying high costs to dispose of unused prescriptions according to environmental regulations. Donating the drugs to safety-net pharmacies such as TLC seemed like an obvious solution. But murky Colorado laws got in the way.
Then two things happened to jump-start a formal process. First, a Web-based service named SIRUM, which makes it easy for facilities to donate prescription drugs to pharmacies, expanded into Colorado in 2014. Then, last March, Colorado legislators passed HB 1039, which clarified and broadened acceptable drug donation practices.
Several independently owned long-term care facilities and three safety-net pharmacies, including TLC, started a drug donation pilot program a year ago. During the pilot, TLC owner Frieda Martin called facilities to locate medications for her clients and drove to pick them up. The medications had to be in her hands while they were transported. Under the new law, and using SIRUM’s system, facilities now can mail medications to the pharmacies that need them. ... more