At least 18,000 prescription drugs were given to Kansans who couldn’t afford them this year, thanks to passage of the Utilization of Unused Medications Act.
The state legislation, which took effect Jan. 2, allows adult care homes, mail-service pharmacies and medical care facilities to donate unused medications to safety net clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers.
As a result, Prescription Solutions, a UnitedHealth Group company, announced Monday that it has been able to donate 150,000 units of unused medicine worth $550,000.
Health Care Access provides medical care for uninsured, low-income Douglas County residents.
Lori Winfrey, clinic manager and nurse practitioner at Health Care Access, estimated the clinic has given about 40 prescriptions per month, thanks to the legislation.
“We’ve been getting quite a few antibiotics, which has been really, really helpful especially this time of year,” she said.
She was able to provide Augmentin, an antibiotic, on Monday for free to a patient who had a severe dental infection. Winfrey estimated that would have cost between $10 and $30 elsewhere. The clinic also has received a lot of thyroid and hypertension medications as well as Nebulizer treatments for bronchitis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“It’s very beneficial and our patients are reaping the benefits,” Winfrey said.
Before the new law, Prescription Solutions was required to destroy the unused medications.
A KDHE spokesman was unable to provide information Monday on whether Prescription Solutions was the only company donating unused medications to the state program.