New medication repository program begins

Last session, Senator Scott Jensen (R-Chaska) worked with pharmacy students to pass medication repository language in the Health and Human Services Omnibus bill. Senator Jensen views this approach to reducing waste in health care as a compelling initiative.

Under the new law, medications in tamper-proof packaging like blister packs, can be saved when the patient discontinues use before the entire pack has been used. This will be the state’s first repository program allowing extra medication to be repurposed for those who have a greater need.

Unused medication is often flushed down the toilet or incinerated, but students from the University of Minnesota saw an opportunity to help people struggling to afford their prescription medications. They worked with Senators, demonstrated how much medication is wasted, and provided a solution that has already been successful in twenty-one states. Instead of partially used blister packs being discarded, they will be sent to a repository, examined, and distributed at a lower cost.

“I am thrilled to help create programs to allow pharmacists to work to the top of their license, lower costs of prescription drugs, reduce waste, and have a beneficial impact on groundwater by decreasing the number of drugs that end up in landfills,” said Senator Jensen. “It is a remarkable feat for a student to get a substantial piece of legislation across the finish line and I greatly appreciated working with Rowan Mahon on this bill. I am proud to support another initiative reducing health care costs.”