For more than a decade, there have been numerous failed attempts to establish a prescription drug repository in Illinois that would allow the donation of unused, unopened prescription drugs to entities such as free clinics. That will end on January 1, 2022, the effective date of the I-DROP (Illinois Drug Reuse Opportunity Program) Act, which Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed on August 16, 2021.
This success was actually spurred and cultivated by the actions of members of the Foxglove Alliance (FGA). It was the Hektoen Institute that initially contacted SIRUM, a northern California based not-for-profit that operates prescription drug repository programs in multiple states, as part of some initial due diligence. Those two entities enlisted the help of interested individuals and institutions that formed what is now known as the I-DROP Coalition. Two of the keys to passing I-DROP were the advocacy efforts of the Illinois Association of Free & Charitable Clinics and consul from IOMC Fellow Janice Feinberg, a pharmacist and an attorney. The primary Coalition members are:
The Coalition is now focused on launching the program at the start of the year and promoting it through other FGA members such as the Illinois Medical District and the Health Care Council of Chicago. The coalition’s website, https://www.ilrxdrugrepository.org/ will serve as a primary resource for stakeholders and entities interested in participating in the repository program through the launch and beyond.
This project, in essence, exemplifies how the collective efforts of FGA members can make a significant difference. Exact projections are still being developed, but for comparison’s sake, Iowa’s state-wide SAFENETRX prescription drug repository program led to drug donations worth $2.8 million in 2018 which has a population of 3.15 million, compared to Illinois, which has 12.67 million residents.