Charity-Only Pharmacy

Ozanam Charitable Pharmacy

Shearie Archer, Executive Director

The Ozanam Charitable Pharmacy, Inc.  located in Mobile, Alabama was founded as a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization in 1997 and began serving low-income residents of Mobile County in 1998. The primary goal was to decrease inappropriate ED visits and decrease hospitalizations of seniors 60 years-old plus.  Emphasis was to keep in stock maintenance medications- blood pressure, heart, anti-seizure, etc.  A policy was established that no controlled substances (narcotics) would be stocked.  Initially, medications were to be obtained as samples donated by area physicians and as purchased generics.  In the early stages pharmacists were volunteers and the pharmacy filled prescriptions for roughly 400 patients per month in Mobile County.

Case workers with Catholic Social Services certified individuals as being eligible for pharmacy services. A guideline examined patient sources of income and necessary expenses. Those left with little or no money would be eligible.  In subsequent years, service has been extended to residents of Baldwin and Escambia (Alabama) Counties.  In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita the pharmacy has filled prescriptions for evacuees of the disaster staying in our community.

 In 2001 the growing partnership with Area Agency on Aging and establishment of a partnership with the Escambia County Health Department led to the extension of pharmacy services to patients in Escambia and Baldwin Counties.  As a result, the pharmacy’s patient base in Escambia County has grown from 150 per month to over 400 per month.  Grants to Ozanam Pharmacy include Community Block Grant funding from the City and County of Mobile, South Alabama Regional Planning Area Agency on Aging, Catholic Charities, United Way of South Alabama, local, national foundations, a primary fundraiser, and direct mail. 

As funding increased, a full-time pharmacist was hired to handle filling more than 1,000 new prescriptions per month.  In subsequent years grants from McMillan Trust and Neal Trust in Escambia County allowed the addition of a part-time pharmacist and the purchase of more generic medications.  A staff position was created to assist low-income persons enrollment into manufacturer Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs).  This program helps ensure patients a consistent supply of brand-name medications challenging to keep in stock via physician samples.  In many cases, these medications come directly to the pharmacy and patients are able to pick them up along with their other prescriptions.

Ozanam became a teaching site for Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy with fourth year pharmacy students performing their 5 weeks of rotations at our pharmacy.  Due to health literacy issues, our patients needed more disease state education. Students provide patient education, including targeted Medication Therapy Management, device utilization, and motivational techniques.  The Mobile County School Commission provides the pharmacy with 4000 square feet of space to accommodate the extensive counseling.

Initial marketing included a partnership with local Medical Alliance Group, Physician Groups (primarily for samples), clinics, local churches, health fairs, and other organizations serving the uninsured population.  Today, we use the local print and broadcast media, web site, e-newsletters, publish printed newsletter, direct mail and social media to provide information to our patients and health care professionals.  

As of 2017, Ozanam pharmacy fills prescriptions for as many as 1,671 persons each month.  In fiscal year 2017, 28,000 prescriptions were filled with a retail value of roughly $2,000.000 on a budget of roughly $400,000.  Funding provided for seven full-time and part-time staff and 22 hours of operation, open 4 days weekly.