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Trouble paying for needed medicines? The Dispensary of Hope may help

  [ 54 votes ]   [ 2 Comments ] • August 11, 2009

Some 1,000 medical practices across the U.S. are donating drug samples they’d otherwise destroy (worth tens of millions) to a 30-location med dispensary system that’s handing out 100,000 prescriptions a year to low-income patients, and continues to expand.

The Dispensary of Hope ( is a young and growing not-for-profit network of prescription drug contributors, collection and distribution sites, and dispensing medical centers - all designed to assist people who can’t afford needed drugs (income below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines) and lack the insurance to cover them.

Founded in 2003, the Dispensary of Hope collects medication from a variety of sources including physicians’ offices and drug distributors and manufacturers, who send their donated medications and excess inventory.

Then the Dispensary’s centralized inventory system processes these shipments and distributes medications as requested by its growing network of dispensing sites – now numbering more than 30 clinics, hospital & retail pharmacies, and health departments. These sites in turn dispense the drugs they receive from the Dispensary of Hope directly to patients at no or very low cost. (See “How it Works.” )

To date, according to the Dispensary for Hope, they have systematically:

• Collected and distributed tens of millions of dollars worth of pharmaceuticals for those in need.

• Built a contributing network that includes 1,000-some physicians who regularly donate sample medications, as well as donations and excess inventory from sources such as distributors and manufacturers. In the U.S., pharmaceutical companies distribute to physicians more than $15 to $18 billion worth of free samples annually, of which an estimated $3.5 billion goes unused, with the average physician’s office destroying 30% to 40% of samples received.

• Built a network of dispensing sites. (See the Dispensary’s linked list of participating distribution centers, and click on any link for contact information.)

• Constructed a mail-order pharmacy to provide direct patient access to assistance programs.

• Built a software system to manage inventory, track patient records and ensure pharmaceutical pedigree.

• Delivered a twenty to one return on investment to the community while alleviating bad debt for community hospitals.

Expansion to Continue - How to Get Involved
Although the dispensing partners so far tend to be concentrated in certain areas, the Dispensary of Hope will continue to expand nationally, and welcomes inquiries from groups interested in becoming, encouraging or contributing to a dispensary in their area .

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Article Comments Post a Comment

Is there any one in Maine that does this?
Posted by: bluenoser
Aug 13, 2009
Hi I'm from Maine and wonder if any one does this in the State of Maine. My husband is dibetic and can't afford testing strips and lancets. His insurance charges too much so the company won't help as he does have the insurance. As a result his health is suffering. I also have many med needs both of us need GERD meds and my insurance doesn't cover it any more. We used to share my perscription for prevacid I took one every 2nd day and he the next day. No one should be without meds they need. Also Ambien is the onlty thing that helps me get to sleep once in awhile but can't asfford it. I have Fibromyalgia and a lot of health issues. I am so glad to see that some re getting help but am in serious need here in my home.Thank you for your time Barbara
Reply Reply

Where I Get Help for My Meds
Posted by: Jennifer1st
Aug 21, 2009
Hi! Try for diabeties supplies: they have a discount program for those in need who can't pay co-pays. I get mine mail-order, they bill Medicare, and that's all the payment they ask for from me as I do qualify for the complete assistance. As far as other programs, try and check out each drug you need; each drug company has different limits on assistance but you might be surprise at how much you can make and still qualify. Plus NeedyMeds has discount programs too. Hope this helps, Jennifer


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