The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

25 September 2003

Recycled prescriptions

Oklahoma is a small state, at least in terms of population, but it's big enough for things to happen under the radar, and I had no idea that this was going on until The Daily Oklahoman had editorial praise for it this morning.

Under a pilot program in the state's two largest counties, prescription drugs which go unused in area nursing homes, which ordinarily would be destroyed after one week, are sent to the county, which then distributes them to the needy.

The program covers 25 specific medications supplied in point-of-care packaging (individual dosages, not bulk). Nursing homes normally don't stock them in surplus quantities, but prescriptions can and do change, and patients eventually pass away, so it's not uncommon for there to be leftover drugs, and before this program was instituted, the drugs were simply thrown away. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't object to the recycling so long as adequate controls are maintained and the original point-of-care packaging is retained.

Waste not, want not: it's on page one of the Oklahoma catalog of virtues. I'm rather pleased that the legislature came up with something like this.

Posted at 8:12 AM to Soonerland

Well isn't that fantastic? Finally, someone doing something to help the less fortunate for a change. Everyone should adapt this same process. Thanks for posting this!!!!

Posted by: Asherah at 8:47 AM on 25 September 2003

It seems to me that this is the way things ought to work. Unfortunately this will probably end with a lawsuit like many other sensible but human endeavors.

Posted by: punctilious at 10:06 PM on 25 September 2003

And I'd like to give the Legislature credit, as well. But I can't. I was involved in the process to make this happen, working for a Tulsa-area social service organization.

The Legislature rejected this program several years in a row. I think they finally passed it just to end our nagging.

This, like many thousands of simple, cheap, effective, problem-solving efforts, almost never see the light of day because of blind-leading-the-blind boys in OKC.

Posted by: Epphan at 12:21 PM on 26 September 2003

Which proves, I suppose, that even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut — and the legislature has more than its share of squirrels. (And nuts, for that matter.)

I knew this had been shot down before, but I'm happy to hear that someone kept pushing.

Posted by: CGHill at 2:25 PM on 26 September 2003