How to donate medical supplies?

  1. I work in a small hospital and we are getting ready for JCHAO. This last week all over the hospital we have been pulling expired materials from our shelves and just dumping it into the trash. :flamesonb I wish I could find a way to donate this items to poor countries that would be greatful for them. There is nothing wrong with them all unopened. I do not even know how to start with collecting the items, or how much it will cost to ship.

    Any insight will be helpful, thank you.
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  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   KellNY
    umm...aren't they expired?

    Why not just take up a collection and donate the money? Depends on what you want to ship, but it's probably not worth it.
  4. by   Silverdragon102
    Have you tried the Red cross or even local animal rescue centres. I know we dontated our old sterilizer to local vets who do a lot of charity work (well is actually aimed at the poorer society)
  5. by   mom2michael
    They are expired, so I don't think the Red Cross will take them but don't quote me on that.

    What about a nursing school - we went through well over 200 syringes when we practiced drawing up our "pretend" meds. We recently had a survey done and we had to get rid of gobs of stuff - we took it all to the NS where I graduated from - they loved it.
  6. by   SCRN1
    I think mom2michael has a great idea. If it's expired and the nursing school uses the dummies to practice on, who cares if it's expired?
  7. by   firstaiddave907
    thats a very good idea mom2michale it would sve the nurseing program some money on supplies.
  8. by   Jules A
    I would definitely call the local animal shelters because I've even sent them extra medication from my pets that they have gladly accepted. I've heard that this organization will take left over meds for pts overseas so they will probably take supplies also. Its very kind of you to think of donating this stuff. Its a shame what we consider waste!

    I have no idea how legal it is to send medications or how legit this organization is, just thought I would pass it along.

    Regarding unused medications that you wish to donate:

    FDA regulations prohibit the dispensation of any medications not prescribed specifically to a particular patient. Overseas regualtions aren't quite so stringent and many people could benefit from the medications we no longer can use. Also, you can deduct 1/3 of the cost of your medications donated to charity on your taxes, if you itemize.

    You may send meds to:

    Friends of the Poor
    417 Coast Boulevard
    LaJolla, California 92037
  9. by   The Bell Jar
    oh oh-donating it to a nursing school is a great idea.We use expired supplies for demonstrations.
  10. by   KellNY
    Quote from Jules A
    Also, you can deduct 1/3 of the cost of your medications donated to charity on your taxes, if you itemize.
    I'm not sure this is true about expired meds. You shouldn't get a tax write off for "donating" garbage (which is where expired meds belong).

    And I think the OP is talking about medical equipment.

    Something about "I have expired things, can I give them to poor people" isn't sitting right with me. I undestand completely the desire to help those less fortunate, but still.

    I would look into seeing what you guys are throwing out, and make sure less of the is ordered next time to cut down on the waste and cost. I know that doesn't give the same warm, squishy feeling as shipping stuff to Africa would, but it would help people (including those with no insurence) in the long run.

    The nsg. school idea is also great, just make sure you mark packages with "NOT FOR USE ON HUMANS OR ANIMALS" for liability.

    Speaking of which, before you donate anything, be sure to clear it with the higher-ups. My sister was fired for donating food meant for the garbage at Taco Bell to a group of homeless men. The food was fine, but they were closing and so didn't need it. They had her on camera filling a bag with bean burritos at 4:35am (when the store was closed at 4am). I'd hate to see you get fired for "stealing", yk?
    Last edit by KellNY on Jan 27, '07
  11. by   Jules A
    Quote from KellNY
    I'm not sure this is true about expired meds. You shouldn't get a tax write off for "donating" garbage (which is where expired meds belong).
    And I think the OP is talking about medical equipment.
    Something about "I have expired things, can I give them to poor people" isn't sitting right with me. I undestand completely the desire to help those less fortunate, but still.
    I was only trying to help. I was not referring to expired meds and sorry that it wasn't clear where I wrote if they take meds they would probably take supplies. In a perfect world this wouldn't be an issue and while I agree with you that we should be more careful about what we waste I would bet that "poor people" would rather have extra supplies and meds than none. It would also be my opinion that a plastic wrapped, capped syringe that hit the floor and isn't considered sterile anymore is not garbage to an underfunded animal shelter.
  12. by   Ayrman
    Apparently most people are unaware of what the term "expired" actually means. Medications have a maximum expiration dating of 5 years from date of manufacture as set by federal law. The manufacturer is free to set whatever date they wish short of that, or short of the demonstrated actual life expectancy within the allowable potency range (in the US that is 90 - 105%). The military has done extensive, multi-year studies concerning actual vs. labeled shelf life and found that, while there are meds that will not make it to the labeled date (always sub-batches, while other batches of the same meds had their life extended by the FDA), others had their life extended again and again following testing of samp batches from the various lots. In the case of atropine they finally stopped testing when the medication was 18 years older than the original labeled expiration, and it still tested as falling within the efficacy requirements.

    Non-medications also have the maximum 5 year stated shelf life rule applied. Can anyone tell me what happens to a sealed IV catheter that it is no longer usable after 5 years? Terumo dates theirs at around 1-1/2 - 2 years though they are sealed in hard plastic sheaths. In that case it's called planned obsolesence, i.e. faster turnover.

    Massive quantities of "expired" supplies are donated or sold to 3rd world countries for use every year. There are a number of companies that sell Conex boxes full weekly of expired or discontinued items.

    Medications are likewise sold overseas with a minimum 6 month shelf life labeled. These are quite often expired returns for credit. Info straight from a pharmaceutical rep.

    As far as how to find places that might accept donations try checking some of the agencies/programs you will find listed here:

    http://www.missionfinder.org/medstudents.htm

    Been there done the third world thing to a limited degree. A Lifepak 5 would be a modern marvel in many countries so long as they have the means to power it and obtain supplies needed for its use.

    Ayrman
  13. by   rnfullofbs
    I jujst read an article in Nurseweek about this very issue. Go to PROJECTCURE.ORG. They donate "throwaway medical supplies" to developing countries. They have warehouse distribution centers in Denver, Phoenix, Houston, St Paul and Nashville. They have volunteers who collect and sort the supplies into different categories. Check out the December 18th issue of Nurseweek (Mountainwest edition) for more information about this wonderful project.
  14. by   Loribabble
    I PM'd you... :spin:

    Lori

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