Since 2006, thousands of uninsured and underinsured patients in Cincinnati, Ohio, and neighboring communities have been able to fill their critically needed medications at no charge through the St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy. By filling prescriptions with no out-of-pocket cost for patients, the charitable pharmacy is committed to providing care for individuals who need it most.
HDA member KeySource, a Cincinnati-headquartered distributor of generic pharmaceuticals, was one of the pharmacy's first partners. That partnership has never been more critical since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
A History of Collaboration
Shortly after St. Vincent de Paul opened, KeySource approached the pharmacy about a recurring monthly donation of medicine. Through KeySource’s support, St. Vincent de Paul filled more than 7,000 prescriptions in its first year of operation.
However, that was just the beginning.
As St. Vincent de Paul grew and its needs increased, KeySource increased its recurring donations to $4,000 per month. By strengthening their partnership, KeySource enhanced the charitable pharmacy’s capacity to make a difference in the community. In 2019, the organization filled more than 66,000 prescriptions.
Supporting the Most Vulnerable
As one of three charitable pharmacies in the state, and the only one that is outcomes-based, St. Vincent de Paul fills a unique role in the Cincinnati area. By measuring and documenting patient outcomes and the impact that the prescriptions have on patients, the organization can directly track their progress.
The results speak for themselves. Recent data provided by the organization show a 49 percent reduction in hospitalizations and a 40 percent decline in ER visits for pharmacy patients. Patients also have shown stronger medication adherence rates. Since it opened, the charitable pharmacy has filled more than 500,000 prescriptions, representing more than $65 million in value.
As COVID-19 hit, KeySource's commitment to supporting the pharmacy and the most vulnerable has only strengthened, particularly given the economic hardships individuals have faced during this public health crisis.
Adapting to a New Environment
The rippling economic effects of the pandemic have further increased demand for the charitable pharmacy’s vital service. In response, KeySource increased its monthly donation to $7,500. Further, KeySource leadership volunteer their time and expertise to serve on the pharmacy’s Board of Directors.
The pandemic has transformed how St. Vincent de Paul must operate. To maintain safety and efficiency during the pandemic, the pharmacy developed a curbside model for employees at its headquarters to limit direct contact while still meeting medication needs. Prescription pickup is usually coordinated by phone, and once prescriptions are filled and ready, they are carried from the pharmacy and dispensed from a side door. During pickup, St. Vincent de Paul staff provide consults to the patients when necessary.
While staffing and funding have been stretched, the pharmacy is able to continue serving the Cincinnati community thanks to the generous and regular support of partners like KeySource.
For additional HDA materials and pandemic response resources, visit: www.hda.org/covid19.
ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE DISTRIBUTION ALLIANCE
The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) represents primary pharmaceutical distributors — the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. Since 1876, HDA has helped members navigate regulations and innovations to get the right medicines to the right patients at the right time, safely and efficiently. The HDA Research Foundation, HDA’s non-profit charitable foundation, serves the healthcare industry by providing research and education focused on priority healthcare supply chain issues.