COLUMBUS, Ohio —For some, the cost of medication is a major burden.
- An Ohio pharmacy teamed up with a local university to help vulnerable residents struggling with health care costs
- The pharmacy not only fills prescriptions for free, but also gives consultations, and even connects their patients with an on-site case worker
- The pharmacy’s executive director says it eliminates a barrier for those struggling with the cost of health care
That's why students from a Dayton-area university are shuffling pills for Central Ohio Charitable Pharmacy.
The free pharmacy connects low-income people with prescription medication.
And it's been around for almost ten years.
Matt Merical is one of the team of grad students from Cedarville's pharmacy program at Livingston United Methodist Church, to help sort and pack hundreds of packages of donated medications.
“Every little thing that we can do to help them is always going to be a beneficial thing. We can take a lot of the load off of their backs and help them do the job that they need to do,” said Merical, American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists, Cedarville University Chapter.
And it's a big job Jessica Hall and her fellow-aspiring pharmacists are doing.
Their efforts helped the clinic fill almost 60,000 prescriptions for Franklin County residents living below 200 percent of the poverty line.
“We talk about all the time in school that we know that prescriptions are expensive,” said Hall, American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists, Cedarville University Chapter. “So, this is a good way for patients to make sure that they get the medications that they need, but more importantly, get the information on how to correctly use the medications."
Saving their clients more than $6 million — money that is now available for other basic needs.
“Often times our patients do describe choosing between food and medicine, or choosing between paying rent and medicine. Or sometimes our patients have lost their job because they have had a hospitalization and they need help to get well, get back on their feet and return to work,” said Jennifer Seifert, RPh, MS, executive director, Central Ohio Charitable Pharmacy.
The executive director says that they often serve an older population — many who have multiple chronic illnesses, like hypertension and diabetes.
The pharmacy not only fills prescriptions for free, but also gives consultations, and even connects their patients to an on-site case worker.
“Our patients here at the charitable pharmacy receive an average of 8 medications every time they come to see us monthly. And we spend about 20 minutes at a time with each patient going over any questions that they have,” said Seifert.
Seifert says the pharmacy eliminates a barrier for those struggling with the cost of health care.
And with the power of volunteers, Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio says they can continue to bridge the gap in wellness.
“We had nearly 300 volunteers provide nearly 5000 hours of volunteerism. So, we have a small core team of staff here, but we are able to extend that staff with a community that really cares,” said Seifert.