Drug repository programs have the potential to be a key component in accessing life-saving treatments. In a landscape where prices for cancer drugs are escalating, many face a challenge in obtaining life-saving treatments. There are many resources for overcoming these obstacles, but it is clearly not enough for those already struggling with the challenges of a cancer diagnosis.
In Ohio, there is a new program that looks to provide a partial solution to this issue. The Ohio State-James Cancer Repository Program is a new cancer drug repository program housed at the OSUCCC-James Outpatient Pharmacy. The program is now accepting donations of unneeded medication from individual patients, pharmacies, hospitals and nonprofit clinics to be dispensed to patients at the center who cannot afford the cost of medication. To learn more about this specific program: https://ascopost.com/issues/february-25-2020/the-ohio-state-james-cancer-repository-program-now-accepting-oral-cancer-therapy-donations-for-patients-in-need/
ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) recently issued an impact statement addressing this issue. In it, they have stated “ASCO is committed to helping patients access the right treatment at the right time. As such, we support drug repository programs solely for oral medications provided they are maintained within a closed system.”
They define a closed system as “one in which the delivery to and/or return of prescription medicines from a health care or other institutional facility is maintained in a controlled environment under the supervision of a health care practitioner and not the patient.”1
ASCO is calling for states to implement drug repository programs and to then educate physicians about the existence and value of the programs.
As there are only a handful of states currently with active programs for oncology drugs, it is time to overcome the roadblocks to the establishment of these programs to promote access to treatment for all.
For further information including which states have such programs: https://www.asco.org/sites/new-www.asco.org/files/content-files/advocacy-and-policy/documents/2020-DrugRepositoryPositionStatement.pdf?et_cid=41152209&et_rid=466246527&linkid=A
For additional resources for access to medication: http://staging.liferaftgroup.org/financial-aid/
1. American Society of Clinical Oncology Position Statement on Drug Repository Programs, January 16, 2020.