Impact of a Drug Repository Program in a Rural Oncology Clinic

A drug recycling program can help increase patient access and minimize waste of expensive oral cancer medications.

Financial toxicity can be a significant burden to individuals diagnosed with cancer and their families, and resources, such as a drug recycling program, should be utilized to help increase patient access to and minimize waste of expensive oral cancer medications, according to a poster to be presented Friday at the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) virtual 2021 conference.

The objective of the study was to determine the impact of the Cancer Drug Repository Program in terms of increased patient access to oral medications used in the treatment of cancer and decreased pharmaceutical waste.

A pharmacist reviewed donations of non-controlled medications received between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019, to ensure the following conditions:

  • Used in the treatment of cancer, including adverse effect management
  • Stored in the original, unopened, sealed, and tamper-evident packaging
  • Properly stored at room temperature
  • Within expiration date

If the patient undergoing cancer treatment was uninsured, under-insured, or demonstrated significant financial need, then a financial counselor would meet with them to review applicable medication access programs, such as the Cancer Drug Repository Program, manufacturer assistance programs, and grants, according to the poster. If the patient was eligible to participate, it was required that they acknowledged receipt of a donated medication.

The results showed 34 medications that were donated to the Cancer Drug Repository Program between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019. The total average sales price for these donated medications was $569,592, and 6 patients were deemed eligible to participate in the program based on financial need and availability of donated medication. Further, 12 prescriptions of the available 34 were dispensed to these individuals at the time of repeal.

The researchers concluded that although assistance was limited based on the availability of donated medications, the program improved access to oral cancer medications.

REFERENCE

Butchko B, Evangelisti S, Reynolds A. Impact of drug repository program in rural oncology clinic. Presented at: Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association Annual Conference 2021; virtual. April 14, 2021.