DALLAS (CBS11) – With the soaring price of prescription drugs, it may be hard to imagine throwing away tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of perfectly good medication.
However, Dr. Ray Page with The Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders in Fort Worth said he’s forced to do just that.
“By law I’m obligated to just throw away that $15,000’ worth of drugs,” he said pointing to just one pill bottle of cancer medication.
Many of the prescriptions drugs his cancer patients take can cost upwards of $20,000 for a month’s supply.
In Texas, if a patient no longer needs that medication and gives it back to doctor, even if it’s never been used or even opened, the doctor must destroy it.
“In the state of Texas there are millions of dollars of drugs that are just thrown away every year,” said Dr. Page.
State Senator Konni Burton, R-Fort Worth, is looking to change this with her drug donation bill, SB382.
Under her bill, doctors could give medicine that’s been returned to them to a different patient free of charge.
This could potentially save some patients tens of thousands of dollars.
This donation practice is legal in states like New Mexico, but is currently illegal in Texas.
“What we are trying to do is get this piece of legislation passed that says if it is unused and unopened, you can donate it back to a person who want to participate in this program,” explained Burton.
Burton said the program will not cost taxpayers anything and said those receiving the donated medication will only be charged minimal doctor’s handling fee.
The Fort Worth Senator admits this will not solve the problem with soaring drug prices, but said it could help lessen the price burden for some and is better than just throwing it away.