Medications donated to Kansas clinics

More than $600,000 of unused medications were donated to Kansas clinics last year.

More than $600,000 worth of unused medications were donated to clinics in Kansas last year, through a program sponsored by Prescription Solutions, a pharmacy benefits management company.

Prescription Solutions, a UnitedHealth Group company, collected and donated around 150,000 units of unused medications throughout 2009. Prescription Solutions worked with the state legislature to create the Utilization of Unused Medications Act, which went into effect on January 2, 2009.

"We've been pleased with how quickly the donation program has taken off ... These medications are seriously needed in our communities and ... nearly every single medication has been utilized by clinics for patients in need," said Robert Stiles, director of the primary care office of the Bureau of Local and Rural Health, part of the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment.

Prescription Solutions' mail-order pharmacists inspect the donated medications for quality, whether the package includes a tamper-evident seal, and whether they were stored correctly. "We inspect packages from patients' homes, for example, to see if there is excess humidity. We then heat-seal all the scripts to make sure they are not tampered with," said John Jones, senior vice president of professional practice and pharmacy policy, Prescription Solutions.

The prescriptions, which include insulin and diabetic supplies, antibiotics, and antidepressants, are then distributed to 36 safety-net clinics and federally qualified health centers throughout Kansas.

Although some other states have similar donation legislation, most do not include donations from mail-order pharmacies. "That [mail order] amounts to a fair amount of potential donations," Jones said.