Year of Publication

2019

College

Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. Sarah Wackerbarth

Committee Member

Dr. Kathi Harp

Committee Member

Dr. Trish Freeman

Abstract

Two major issues surround the U.S. healthcare system: waste and inaccessibility of prescription drug medication. This paper primarily examines the financial impact medication donation repositories have on individuals and the healthcare system overall. Healthcare facilities may act as repositories for donated medications to be dispensed to those otherwise unable to afford them. The specifics of each policy vary from state to state with some policies covering a wider array of acceptable donations than others. Although Kentucky enacted a policy in 2005, the state still lacks any operational programs. By analyzing the policies of multiple states, this paper elucidates the more comprehensive impact medication donation repositories have on the healthcare system. The Georgia program includes a wider array of medications while serving geographic areas and demographics similar to those of Kentucky. Alternatively, the longer existing programs in Iowa and Wyoming paint a more complete picture regarding the sustainability and effect of repository policies. While policies and programs exist separately pertaining to both medication donation and waste, like drug disposal and medication assistance programs, medication donation repository policies tackle multiple problems in the U.S. healthcare system. Instead of wasting unused medications that could benefit others, the medications can be donated for redistribution, which reduces environmental waste and the financial expenditures associated with healthcare.

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