Guest Post - PharmaCares™: An opportunity to reduce medical waste and do good for the pharmaceutical industry.
Since we have been highlighting the issues around medical waste, we thought it was time to discuss some of the innovation approaches some organizations are taking to deal with the issue. And the timing was perfect as friend of ours just launched PharmaCares™.
With 36.1 million Americans in need of medicines they can’t afford and approximately 200 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste are created each year (1), we need to find some creative solutions. So what does happen to drug samples and surpluses? They are in many cases either being destroyed or sent overseas. In 2005, U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers generated some $4.4 billion worth of short-dated products (2).
So you ask what is PharmaCares™ and does PharmaCare, well we will find out in the coming year as this program gains ground. In nutshell, PharmaCares™ is a web-based sample closet that makes short-dated or surplus pharmaceutical products available to healthcare providers and not-for-profit organizations and clinics. This program focuses on bringing medicine to Americans who can’t afford the drugs they need to stay healthy. This program creates a unique opportunity for manufacturers; maximize the prescription opportunity and donate any excess to those in need.
PharmaCares works just like a doctor’s sample closet: It’s stocked with surplus prescription and over the-counter or soon-to-expire* products by pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical supply companies. PharmaCares offers healthcare companies an easy-to-use, easy-to-access outlet for donating their short-dated products, benefiting multiple customers including physicians, patients and health clinics. Physician-led charities can access the secure PharmaCares™ online closet to order products, samples, vaccines, and medical supplies to help their organizations and the locations they serve.
Some other examples of non-profits that have approached medical waste with innovative solutions are:
- Med-Eq, The Medical Equipment Donation Agency, a service that connects donors of medical equipment and supplies with registered non-profits receving charities.
- Medisend International, supports the distribution of life-saving medical supplies and biomedical equipment in long-term partnership and emergency relief programs.
- Medshare, redistribution of surplus medical supplies and equipment to underserved healthcare facilities in developing countries.
- REMEDY, Recovered Medical Equipment for the Developing World, Recovery of unused medical supplies for the purpose of global aid, waste reduction, and cost-effectiveness.
So far, the reception from the industry has been amazing. Companies seem eager to help out and PharmaCares provides the perfect opportunity. To find out more, or if you’d like to get involved, visit the PharmaCares website at www.pharmacares.org.
1 Jeff Donn, Martha Mendoza, Justin Pritchard, Associated Press.
“Health facilities flush estimated 250M pounds of drugs a year.”
USA Today website (Flushed drugs). Posted September 14, 2008.