Turner Bill Establishing Prescription Drug Donation Programs Now Law

TURNER EITC

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner establishing a prescription drug donation program by pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and similar entities was signed into law today by the Governor.

This program would be the first drug donation program to be established in the state.

Under the new law, 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 law would require that only licensed pharmacists dispense donated drugs to patients.

This law 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 law 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 law would also establish standards for donation and reporting requirements to the Commissioner of Health and the Board of Pharmacy.

The bill was approved by the Assembly in December with a vote of 70-0-0 and by the Senate in June of last year with a vote of 40-0.