House OKs McNamara bill to create program to redistribute donated and unused prescription medications


STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today approved legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) that would create a way to redistribute unused medication to aid people who cannot access or afford their prescriptions.

The act (2022-H 7133A) would authorize the creation and implementation of a pharmaceutical redistribution program by the Department of Health and the Board of Pharmacy to begin on Jan. 1, 2023.

“Unused medication worth billions of dollars gets thrown out every year,” said Representative McNamara. “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 program would provide for the redistribution of donated and unused non-controlled substance prescription drugs from facilities to aid Rhode Islanders who have difficulty affording or accessing those drugs. The program would be voluntary and establish the conditions for donations and redistribution with civil and criminal immunity for persons or institutions acting in good faith.

The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2022-S 2207) has been introduced by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence).   


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