Drug donation programs are designed to aid uninsured and underinsured patients with limited incomes. These programs are not intended to provide medication assistance in lieu of state or federal programs, but do serve patients who need short-term assistance, such as an insured, low-income patient who cannot afford a prescription co-pay, an individual who has lost employer-provided insurance, or a senior who has reached the Medicare coverage gap. In many cases, a drug donation program provides critical medication access in instances where the patient would otherwise go without.
Although some states allow the drug donation program to dispense directly to the patient in need, many programs are licensed in their state as a wholesale distributor. As distributors, the drug donation programs supply community pharmacies or medical facilities such as a free medical clinic or a federally qualified health centers with donated medications that will be dispensed to patients in need. Once the donated medications are received by the pharmacy or medical facility, the medications are dispensed to the patient in its donated form; however, some states also allow the dispensing medical facility to repackage the donated items in a format that is consistent with retail pharmacies.
National Conference of State Legislatures Staff. State Prescription Drug Return, Reuse and Recycling Laws. National Conference of State Legislatures. (2017, March 31). Rosmann J. Drug Donation Repositories: State Programs to Leverage Scarce Health Resources.Inside Pharmacy. 2013;1:13-14.