By Staff 4-27,2016
A Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) program helps struggling residents get the medications they need to stay healthy and recover from major health events by collecting and redistributing unused, donated prescription drugs.
The Wyoming Medication Donation Program helps low-income Wyoming residents who lack prescription insurance and also the safety-net clinics that serve those clients.
“Millions of dollars’ worth of medications go unused each year in Wyoming,” said Natasha Gallizzi, Medication Donation Program manager and pharmacist with WDH. “Our program brought in $3.2 million worth of usable donated medications in 2015, but we know there are more potential donations out there.”
Gallizzi encourages patients, physician offices and medical facilities to donate unused medications. “We see especially high demand for medications used to treat hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, acid reflux, thyroid, and mental health, as well as inhalers and blood thinners,” she said.
“Last week we helped a patient who was being discharged from a hospital after a heart attack. He needed several medications but had no way to pay for them. We were able to ensure he received the medications he needed to stabilize his condition and help prevent another hospital stay caused by another heart attack or stroke,” Gallizzi said. “We help people with similar situations every day.”
Gallizzi noted the average hospital stay for a patient with a primary diagnosis of heart disease is 4.6 days. “When uninsured patients need care, the costs can add up quickly. Helping these patients receive needed medications not only improves their health, but also reduces uncompensated care costs faced by Wyoming healthcare facilities,” she said.
The Wyoming Medication Donation Program coordinates a network of 28 donation sites located throughout the state. Most unused, in-date, sealed medications, are accepted, but the program cannot accept or dispose of controlled substances, such as medications for pain, sleep, anxiety or ADHD.
Donated medications can be re-dispensed to low-income residents who don’t have the prescription coverage they may need. For more information or to find a local donation site, visit wyomedicationdonation.org online or call 1-855-257-5041.