Individuals are now able to donate no-longer-needed oral cancer therapy drugs to other persons with cancer through new state rules spearheaded by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center–Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC–James).
The organizations announced the formation of a new cancer drug repository program on the 20th anniversary of World Cancer Day (February 4, 2020) that will be housed at the OSUCCC–James Outpatient Pharmacy. The program will accept donations of unneeded medications from individual patients, pharmacies, hospitals, and nonprofit clinics to be re-dispensed to patients in treatment at the OSUCCC–James who cannot afford the cost of the medications.
Cancer Drug Repository Program
New rules adopted in October 2019 by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy allow patients to donate previously dispensed oral cancer medications that are no longer needed for the purpose of re-dispensing to patients who cannot afford their prescribed medications. Previous rules allowed for only the collection of unopened medication that was dispensed for the prescribed patient but never picked up.
Julie Kennerly-Shah, PharmD
“In cancer, it is quite common for patients to switch to a new medication or experience a medication dose reduction. As a result, we end up with a lot of wasted medication that must be disposed of,” said Julie Kennerly-Shah, PharmD, a pharmacist and Associate Director of Pharmacy at the OSUCCC–James. “Together with the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, The Ohio State pharmacy team was able to develop new governing rules that would allow patients to donate these unneeded medications for re-dispensing to patients in financial need through our existing hospital-based Medical Assistance Program.”
The OSUCCC–James is the first hospital in Ohio, and among the first in the United States, to launch a cancer drug repository program. The program will initially accept capecitabine and temozolomide.
The cancer drug repository initiative is a new component of the overall Medical Assistance Program at the OSUCCC–James. The program consult service was established to help patients who are unable to afford their medications due to financial hardship. The program consists of pharmacists, medical assistance program coordinators, clinical financial case managers, and other support personnel who work one-on-one with patients to reduce health-care costs associated with cancer treatment. Since the program’s inception in 2001, the team has helped more than 30,000 patients gain access to grant funding and manufacturer-assistance programs, with savings to patients of more than $500 million.
Donated medications must be within expiration dates, stored as prescribed, and otherwise untampered with. Pharmacists will then go through an eight-point inspection of the drug to ensure that it is safe to re-dispense at a future date to patients in need.
Dr.-Shah worked with the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy to adopt new rules that allow oral cancer drugs to be donated for re-dispensing to patients in need. She is leading the implementation of a new oral cancer drug repository at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center–Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute that prevents expensive cancer medications from going to waste.