Can You Donate Medication?
First, gather all the unused prescription medication that you no longer need. Second, check the label to determine what you should do with it. Do you have to dispose it? Or, can you donate that medication?
If that medication has expired or was not correctly stored, it needs to be properly disposed. If the medication has been opened or used, that means disposal too. But what if the medication has not expired and is still in its original, sealed, temper-evident packaging?
If it is, look for ways to donate it in a safe controlled way so that it can go to someone in need. Those options depend on which US state you are living in.
Why Should You Donate Medication?
There are people in the USA who cannot afford needed medication. They have to choose between medicine or food or rent. Donated medication could help ease that burden.
And according to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, more than 90% of Cancer Centers do not have the needed supply of cancer drugs. This national shortage of cancer drugs reached a critical state. Doctors have to use less effective methods to treat the patient’s cancer.
As Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), it is hard to throw something away that we know someone else needs. But giving away medication is not safe either. The dosage they need could be different than yours. They may have an allergy to the ingredients that you don’t know about. In a nutshell, don’t give, trade, or sell your medication to another person.
How Do You Donate Medication?
If you wish to donate medicine, contact your local pharmacy or SIRUM, an organization specializing in assisting with drug donations and national drug donation laws. Also contact your state Board of Pharmacy for more information.
Check with your state’s health department. Some states like Wyoming have specific drug donation programs. Some states, Guam, and Washington, D.C. have Good Samaritan drug donation programs and reuse laws to receive donated prescriptions.
What If You Are in Need of Donated Medication?
Every year, up to $11 billion in unopened and unexpired medicine gets destroyed even though there are people who desperately need that surplus medication. Everyone does not have insurance. And not everyone’s insurance covers their medication needs. It is a travesty that so many citizens and residents of one of the richest countries in the world cannot afford life-saving medication.
Look in our RPCV Health Crusade Resource Library for potential help or discounts to needed medication. The RPCV-HC Resource Library also contains a number of charitable pharmacies that fill prescriptions at no or low cost to patients in need.
Let’s help spread the word to redistribute that needed medication to patients in need and to keep everyone safe by disposing medication that cannot be donated.