On average, Americans spend approximately $1,200 a year on prescription drugs. While Indiana has taken steps to curb costs, there is still work to do to make prescribed medications more affordable for Hoosiers. Through legislation I am working on for the upcoming session, Indiana could join 21 other states allowing pre-approved medical facilities to distribute donated medications and supplies.
Establishing a drug return, reuse and recycling program in our state would help Hoosiers have more access to affordable prescription drugs. Through the program, individuals could donate unused, unopened and unexpired prescriptions or medical supplies at registered repository facilities. These centers would be pre-approved and verified with the Indiana Department of Health, and donated medications and supplies would be inspected by a pharmacist and redistributed to medical providers, pharmacies and health care providers across Indiana.
In addition to helping Hoosiers afford prescriptions, this could also decrease the amount of medicine wasted each year. Reports show $5 billion of prescription drugs go unused annually. Long-term care facilities account for $2 billion of this figure, so including nursing homes and other health care facilities among those that can donate bulk amounts of unused medicine and supplies could really make a difference in curbing waste and saving Hoosiers money.
We have learned from other states that for this program to be successful, Indiana would need to raise awareness, establish and designate a central agency or entity to operate and fund the program, and make sure there is a framework for repository sites to accept donations.
As your state representative, I will continue working toward establishing a drug return, reuse and recycling program, and other measures that make prescription medications more affordable.
State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74,
which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
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