Models of Community Charitable Pharmacies

A charitable pharmacy program serves un-insured or underserved patients with low-income. The charitable program may be a pharmacy’s exclusive focus, or it may be incorporated into pharmacy with a broader business plan with many agendas. Pharmacies dispensing solely to patients under the charity program will be referred to as “Charity-only” pharmacies, whereas pharmacies dispensing to both insured and un-insured patients and engaging in other for-profit activities in addition to the charity program will be referred to as “Mixed-Model” pharmacies. A charitable pharmacy program may be successfully operationalized in many different types of pharmacy models and settings with a stipulation that each must segregate charitable medications from the for-profit medications.

Some charity pharmacies are independently funded, stand-alone, not fully supported by a hospital or health system. All charity pharmacy models can be open-door: serving eligible patients from the entire community or state. Clinic or hospital models may or may not limit their patients to those referred from a specific source. Most models limit the geographical population they serve (city, county, state, etc.) due to limited resources.

Model Funding Patients Open-door
Charity-Only Can be stand alone or not Limited to eligible, uninsured only; May limit to specific area May be open-door or limit to specific referral source
Mixed-Model Can be stand alone or not Serves both insured & uninsured patients; May limit to specific area May be open- door or limit to specific referral source

Charitable pharmacies can take many forms and be operated in a physical location or mail order, at a hospital campus, or out of a collaborative practice site (health department, thrift shop, etc.) The following are examples of existing charity pharmacies serving the uninsured of their area in a variety of models.