25 September 2003
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.