New Drug Donation Program Matches Medications With Poor Patients

Colorado is expanding a program that aims to help nursing homes save money, while also making it easier for poor patients to get medication.

Long-term care facilities pay high costs to dispose of unused medications safely. Under the new program at the state Department of Public Health & Environment, they can instead donate those drugs to pharmacies that serve indigent clients.

Pharmacies and facilities can find each other on a matchmaking website run by the state.

Waste Program Manager Joe Schieffelin said the program has another benefit, too.

“When we can get these drugs reused and prescribed and used by patients as they were intended, we do a much better job of managing the materials and keeping it out of the environment," Schieffelin said.

This spring the state Legislature passed a law making drug donations easier. Currently, three pharmacies and 45 nursing homes and assisted living facilities are participating. Colorado hopes to take the program statewide later this year.