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Medication recycling programs are proving to be a lifeline for those in need

Forty-four states and Washington, D.C., have laws on the books that allow for unused drugs to be recycled.
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Posted at 11:51 AM, Jun 03, 2024

Between rows of cornfields, on the outskirts of Des Moines, Iowa, there's a warehouse that's become a lifeline for thousands of Americans.

It's home to SafeNetRx, which receives donations from private donors, pharmacies and long-term care facilities.

"We're looking at about $20 million in donated medicine," SafeNetRx CEO Jon Rosmann said while showing Scripps News the warehouse.

Once inspected, the medicines are ready to be "recycled." Community Health Free Clinic in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, established a relationship with SafeNetRx and now houses a charitable pharmacy that provides "recycled" drugs at low or no cost to patients.

Mary Fredericksen, who suffered a heart episode at work, is just one of the many patients who use the pharmacy.

"I wouldn't be here if I didn't have this support," she said.

Iowa isn't the only state that has this type of program. Forty-three other states and Washington, D.C., have laws on the books that allow for unused drugs to be recycled. So far, programs are running in a total of 28 states.

A map of the U.S. that shows states with operational drug recycling programs.
This map of the U.S. shows states with operational drug recycling programs.

Visit your state's Board of Pharmacy page to find out if there is a program near you.