The COVID-19 public health crisis has highlighted access and affordability challenges for underserved communities. At the same time, spiking unemployment has left millions of patients throughout the country without health insurance previously provided by their employer.
Addressing these healthcare disparities and making sure the most vulnerable among us have access to the medications they rely on every day is the core mission of HDA member Dispensary of Hope. Through meaningful partnerships with pharmacies and clinics nationwide, Dispensary of Hope collects and distributes millions of prescription medicines annually to pharmacies and safety-net clinics to dispense to low income, chronically ill patients.
Built On A Foundation of Helping Those In Need
Founded in 2003, Dispensary of Hope has been guided by the mission to improve the health of local communities by increasing access to affordable medication.
While this focus has never wavered, the organization’s footprint has expanded dramatically. Originally based in communities around Nashville, Tennessee, Dispensary of Hope is now licensed to operate in all 50 states across the country as well as Washington, D.C.
The organization supports an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 patients every quarter. In 2019 alone, they received approximately 70 million doses of donated medicine and filled more than 1.1 million prescriptions.
An Innovative Model For Supporting Underserved Communities
Dispensary of Hope serves as a connector between manufacturers, which donate the medication, and more than 200 sites of care throughout the country. Their national network of dispensing sites includes outpatient pharmacies, charitable pharmacies, federally-qualified health centers and safety-net clinics. Critically, all care sites within the network operate as non-profit organizations, so patients in need can access the medications at no cost.
Through this collaborative and patient-centered support, Dispensary of Hope is saving lives and improving health outcomes. For vulnerable patients suffering from chronic health conditions, maintaining access to medication can mean the difference between life and death. Further, improving prescription adherence prevents acute care interventions, reducing avoidable emergency department visits and hospital readmissions.
Adapting to COVID-19
Throughout the crisis, Dispensary of Hope has doubled down on its mission to provide for the most vulnerable.
Like all healthcare organizations, Dispensary of Hope has had to quickly adapt to developing conditions on the ground to make sure patients maintain safe and reliable access to their medications.
Recognizing early on the potential impact COVID-19 could have on healthcare supply chains, Dispensary of Hope moved quickly before the outbreak in the U.S. to expand their current inventory of medicines to guard against potential supply shortages. During the early stages of the pandemic, the organization nearly doubled its number of manufacturer partners to help maintain the supply of vital medicines.
Securing adequate supply of medicines and healthcare products is just half the battle. As the crisis continued to evolve, Dispensary of Hope implemented a variety of new procedures to maintain operational stability and ensure patients could pick up their medications as safely as possible.
Engagement with the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain
As a longstanding member of HDA, Dispensary of Hope’s engagement with the Alliance has helped to foster relationships with manufacturers and other stakeholders in the pharmaceutical supply chain, provide guidance on industry best practices and support the non-profit’s growth.
We are proud to have played a small part in helping Dispensary of Hope fulfill their mission of changing lives by providing access to vital medicines for those in need.
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 nonprofit charitable foundation, serves the healthcare industry by providing research and education focused on priority healthcare supply chain issues.