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Americans are dying because they can't afford medicine; Dispensary of Hope wants to help

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Posted at 5:34 PM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-04 18:19:08-04

BATAVIA, Ohio -- When Shane Patrick Boyle moved from Texas to Arkansas in order to care for his dying mother, he temporarily lost the insurance that enabled him to afford insulin.

With no financial or medical support, he started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $750 for one month's supply of the life-saving drug.

The campaign came up just $50 short, and after rationing his insulin for weeks, Boyle died March 18, 2017, of diabetic ketoacidosis.

He's not the only American whose inability to purchase necessary prescriptions proved life-threatening or even fatal, but the creators of the Dispensary of Hope want him to be among the last.

The program, in which 20 generic drug manufacturers donate free product to healthcare providers such as Mercy Health, allows people who can't afford their medication to continue managing their own health. 

"I'm going to school right now full time for medical assistance and trying to work on top of it," said Jessica Kemplin, who receives her medications for free at Clermont Hospital. "They don't offer insurance where I work at."

Although first-and-foremost focused on the ability of every patient to live a safe, healthy life regardless of economic status, the program also benefits health care providers by reducing the number of emergency hospitalizations that might otherwise result from medication deprivation. 

"If we can help these patients stay out of the hospital for 30 days, we've done a huge benefit for the hospital," pharmacist Michele Wells Walker said.

Anyone who meets two eligibility requirements -- they must fall below federal poverty guidelines and lack prescription insurance -- can have their prescriptions filled at Clermont Hospital, even if their doctor doesn't work for Mercy Health.