TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner establishing a prescription drug donation program by pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and similar entities cleared the Assembly today.
This program would be the first drug donation program to be established in the state.
Under the bill, S-2560, the programs would allow private entities to donate both prescription and non-prescription drugs to uninsured or under-insured individuals. The private entities would be permitted to contract with third-parties to administer the program. However, the bill would require that only licensed pharmacists dispense donated drugs to patients.
This bill would limit the program to drugs that are both unexpired and sealed. Moreover, it would prohibit donation of drugs that may only be administered to a patient registered with its manufacturer. Out-of-state donations would be permissible if the donation is allowed in the originating state and donors would be eligible for income tax credits for their donation.
“This is an important step to improve health care for our low income residents who will be able to access these medications,” said Senator Turner. “By closely monitoring this process we will be able to ensure a safe donation program which can make a big difference for patients in need of medical care. It has gotten too expensive for people to get sick, and that is a problem for those who are out of work, who don’t have insurance or who have plans that require expensive out of pocket costs.”
This bill would require that donations be made to approved facilities. These redistributors would then be charged with inspection, repackaging, transfer, and eligibility-determination of recipients. Indigent, uninsured, or underinsured patients would be granted priority under the program. This bill would also establish standards for donation and reporting requirements to the Commissioner of Health and the Board of Pharmacy.
The bill cleared the Assembly with a vote of 70-0-0. The bill was approved by the Senate in June with a vote of 40-0. It will now head to the Governor’s desk.