A medication repository would help patients who can’t afford prescription drugs


In Northbrook, a man coughs and coughs from his chronic bacterial infection. He cannot afford the $950 co-pay for the inhaled antibiotic he needs. This same antibiotic, Tobramycin, sits unused in a Bolingbrook woman’s fridge. She received monthly deliveries for her chronic infection but recovered before opening the latest box of her medication. Because she no longer needs it, she will need to destroy the antibiotic. Even though both are patients at the same clinic, in Illinois there is no legal way to get that essential antibiotic from the patient who no longer needs it to the one who desperately does.

Unfortunately, this situation is not unique. While 21 percent of Americans reported not filling a prescription because it was too expensive, millions of pounds of safe and effective medication go to waste every year — 1.5 million pounds from nursing homes alone. There are few easy solutions to problems of health care affordability and access, but a prescription drug repository program is a meaningful step toward one.

Such a system, wherein authorities legalize the donation and redistribution of medications, has already proved successful in many states across the country. Since 2007, Iowa’s SafeNetRx has provided relief to more than 90,000 Iowans, redistributing $32 million worth of medications. Thirty-seven other states have legalized this common-sense measure as well, but Illinois is not one of them — at least not yet. The Prescription Drug Repository Program Act has been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly, which will help alleviate our medication affordability crisis.

There are plenty of reasons to support a prescription drug repository in Illinois. In addition to worsening illness and increasing mortality, lack of access to prescription medications leads to more than $100 billion in unnecessary health care costs. At the same time, excess prescription drugs are routinely destroyed. When discarded improperly, these medications end up in our lakes and rivers; Chicago Tribune analysis has found measurable concentrations in Chicago’s drinking water. Even when disposed of properly, their incineration generates pollutants that threaten public health and the environment.

15-Health,19-Legal,22-Talk,26-Delivered,E Lazare-Mona,AllPolGA

Columns,Feeds,Region: Chicago,City: Chicago,Opinion

via Opinion – Chicago Tribune http://bit.ly/1GuZMG0

April 29, 2019 at 04:54PM

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