In the summer of 2006, the American Cancer Society approached the board of pharmacy with the possibility of creating a drug donation and repository program in North Dakota. The program discussed and envisioned was one where the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy would develop criteria for the establishment of the program and register voluntary participants for the intake of donated items as well as for the dispensing of items.
As a result, on April 17, 2007 Governor John Hoeven signed House Bill 1256, which took effect July 1,2007, authorizing a state Prescription Drug Repository Program to collect and distribute unused medications so that pharmacies and physicians can dispense them to those who need them. A drug donated or dispensed under the program must be in the original, unopened package, except drugs packaged in single-unit doses, or punch cards, may be accepted and dispensed if the outside packaging has been opened and the single-unit dose package is unopened. A few cases in which the shipped package has not been opened may also be allowed.
Those who choose to volunteer to participate in the dispensing of the donated drugs are defined as either a practitioner or pharmacy that has elected to participate in the program and accept legend drugs, devices, and supplies from donors for the program. Those who receive the donations will be able to post the availability of the medications on a website in which the information is accessible by both patients and practitioners. Pharmacies and practitioners must register with the Board of Pharmacy as participants.
Before being dispensed to an eligible individual, the legend drugs, devices, and supplies donated under the program must be inspected by a pharmacist to determine that they are not adulterated or misbranded. The participating pharmacist or practitioner must keep a record of the source of the donation for 2 years.
Because this is a volunteer program, the dispenser of donated legend drugs, devices, or supplies may not submit a claim or otherwise seek reimbursement from any public or private third-party payer for the cost of donated legend drugs, devices, or supplies dispensed to any eligible individual under the program. The dispenser may charge a small fee of up to 2.5 times the Medicaid fee of $4.60 to cover the costs.
According to a recent article in the Minot Daily News, the program is one of the ways to combat rising drug costs and allow individuals who cannot afford medications to get what they need to lead healthier lives. More information about the Drug Repository Program can be found on the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy website.