Extensive regulation prevents unused prescription drug redistribution in Missouri

I can’t really say I’m surprised by the outcome of this plan.  The basic premise of the MO Drug Repository Program was this: Hospitals and nursing homes have unused drugs lying around that are going to be thrown away, so let’s find people who can’t afford their meds and give the extras to them.

But nothing is ever that simple.  For instance:

“[T]he family of a person living at home who died before finishing a three-month supply of medicine would have to throw it away.”


“[T]he rules don’t allow a nursing home to take drugs destined for one patient and give them to another. Instead the home would have to send them to an outside clinic, pharmacy or hospital.”

The head of MO’s Narcotics Bureau is looking out for you by making stringent rules, and the federal government is also contributing their fair share by requiring specific “packaging and storage”…all in the name of safety.  I admit that their intentions are good, but here is my question: In this instance, do you need the government ‘protecting’ you?  If you are poor and are willing to take the risk (which is probably quite small, given these drugs have not yet officially expired) – and lets presume that you are of sound mind and can understand the risk – is there any reason why you should not be allowed to take these drugs? 

Studies routinely show the importance of taking drugs to manage such illnesses as high blood presure, diabetes, etc.  I think that the harm from not taking a needed drug outweighs the potential risk that the drugs are bad. You may agree, and you may disagree.   Does my opinion matter?  No, and neither does yours…but apparently the opinion of an official trumps our own.  This, is unfortunate, and my guess is that if we could do a study showing how many people are dying each year because these regulations prevent access to drugs, such officials would promptly be fired.  Alas, it is easier to identify people who have been harmed by a bad drug then it is to identify those who died because a necessary drug was caught up in these restrictions.



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