Minnesota could create repository for unused prescription drugs

A bill before the Minnesota state legislature would create a repository for unused prescription medications. Currently, many drugs go to waste when patients are unable to use them, if their drug regimen changes or the patient dies. Often, the unused drugs are flushed down the toilet. According to Patti Cullen, president and CEO of Care Provider of Minnesota, which has 365 long-term care facilities as members, an estimated 29 tons of drugs are wasted in Minnesota each year, costing $16 million. Her organization supports a repository, where unused, unopened, and not tampered with medical products could be donated and dispensed to other patients for free, or at a very low cost. "It would be far, far less expensive for people to go through this program than buying a medication that might be $100—even $200 or more," said Cody Wiberg, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. While lawmakers approved a repository many years ago, Wiberg noted that it only included a few cancer drugs, so many care facilities did not participate. If the new measure passes, there could be one central repository, with a number of satellites located around the state. A total of 21 states have active prescription drug repositories at present.

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