Bill to create program for medication redistribution passes R.I. House

LEGISLATION INTRODUCED BY Rep. Joseph M. McNamara, D-Warwick, would match donated unused medications with Rhode Islanders in need of the drugs. Pictured is the R.I. Statehouse. / PBN FILE PHOTO/ARTISTIC IMAGES

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island residents who are not able to afford the prescription medication that they need may soon be able to fill their prescriptions, thanks to legislation passed by the R.I. House of Representatives last week.

Introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara, D-Warwick, 2022-H 7133A would create a redistribution program for unused prescription medications. The program, proposed to be run by the R.I. Department of Health and the Board of Pharmacy, would exclude controlled substances.

“Unused medication worth billions of dollars gets thrown out every year,” McNamara said. “Medication will often go unused because a patient’s condition improves, they change doses, or they pass away. Instead of disposing of the unused medicine, people would be able to donate it. By collecting these unused drugs and redistributing them to qualifying individuals, we would be able to increase medication access, especially to underserved populations.”

The voluntary program would outline conditions for drug donations and provide civil and criminal immunity for donators acting in good faith.

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The bill is moving on to the R.I. Senate, where a similar measure, 2022-S 2207, has been introduced by Sen. Joshua Miller, D-Cranston.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.

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