INDIANAPOLIS — Pharmaceutical medications are one of the most expensive pieces of health care. A bill at the statehouse would allow more access to people in need.
"The most common one that we distribute is approximately $4,000 a month,” Brad Plunkett , the Director of Pharmacy Services at the Damien Center said. “That's where it's really difficult to have someone who wants to donate medicine back. "
Medications like Biktarvy, which keeps people with HIV healthy. is just one reason why pharmacists are backing House Bill 1017. The bill would allow medical establishments to collect and distribute donated prescription drugs.
"Some of these products are thousands and thousands of dollars,” Darren Covington, the Executive V.P. of Indiana Pharmacy Association, said. “They have never been opened and never been used so that just generates additional waste in the system. We could save some of that and save some of the cost in the United States.”
According to goodrx.com, as of late 2021 there are 28 states that currently have this type of program. Plunkett has worked in pharmacies where this program already exists.
"I actually have worked in a couple of states that have repository laws already in place and have seen the good that this can do for patients who, like I said before, have no other way to have access to medications, " Plunkett said.
He says this program is safe for several reasons.
In the bill, it states the medication must be un-opened, not expired and thoroughly examined by trained professionals.
People also must have a prescription for the donated medications and meet income guidelines. Along with that controlled substances like painkillers won’t be accepted as donations.
"There are lots of rules and regulations that are going to go along with this bill that we as the pharmacy will have to follow,” Plunkett said.
The full House passed this bill unanimously on Monday; it now heads to the Senate for consideration.