A Failed Effort to Redirect Medications
The Southeast Missourian reports on another government health care program that doesn’t work:
A few years ago, as prescription drug costs continued to soar and lawmakers heard concerns from voters, the Missouri Legislature created a new program to help redirect extra, unused prescription drugs to the needy. […]
Pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and nursing homes — the very groups the law was aimed at, who were thought to have a supply of drugs they hate to just throw out — say it’s not working as intended, and hardly anyone is participating.
It turns out that all these private businesses and organizations don’t just have prescription drugs sitting around unused. They don’t need help from the state to avoid stockpiling unneeded medications or to allocate supplies efficiently. When people have trouble paying for medicine, that’s a problem caused by their poverty rather than by broken health care markets.
Some people quoted in the article think that Missouri should allow medicines that were under a patient’s control such as a bottle of antibiotics someone took home from the pharmacy to be donated. To me, that sounds prohibitively risky. A better idea would be to issue vouchers that people can spend on new, unopened medicine.