This year, nearly 2 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. But one-quarter won’t fill their expensive prescriptions, and another 20% will ration their drugs due to cost – which can total $15,000 per month or more. But thanks to a partnership between NOVA ScriptsCentral and Tennessee-based RemediChain, some Virginia cancer patients could get their lifesaving medications for free.
“Oral chemotherapy medications are some of the most necessary, most expensive and most wasted prescriptions on the market,” said Phil Baker, pharmacist and co-founder of RemediChain. “But blockchain technology and key partnerships can get the medication to people who need it most.”
It works like this. Oral chemotherapy medications go unused for various reasons. Some patients pass away. Others change treatments. Still others go into remission. In 2018, Baker worked with the Tennessee legislature to change the law so individuals could donate unused prescriptions to his nonprofit pharmacy. In 2020, Baker and his partners launched #FlipYourScrip, a text-based system for individuals to find out if their medication can be donated. After a pharmacist inspection, viable donated medications are entered into an immutable blockchain database. In just one year, donors sent more than $5 million worth of medication to RemediChain. But it needs reliable partners to distribute drugs to patients in need. That’s where NOVA ScriptsCentral comes in.
“Our patients in Virginia are at the highest risk for the problem RemediChain addresses – which the National Institutes of Health calls ‘financial toxicity,’” said Donney John, pharmacist and executive director of NOVA ScriptsCentral. “It describes financial problems patients with cancer may have related to job loss or treatment costs. According to the NIH, some cancer patients spend more than 20% of their income on medical care, and it isn’t sustainable for many. When we found out our patients could get their oral chemotherapy treatments at no cost, we jumped at the chance to partner with RemediChain. This is exactly the type of support that could change the outcome and literally save lives.”
Both donors and patients in need can visit FlipYourScrip.com to register donations or sign up to receive no-cost medication. To find out if RemediChain and NOVA ScriptsCentral have a specific medication, patients, providers or caregivers can also check the RemediChain medication list.
About NOVA ScriptsCentral
NOVA ScriptsCentral provides quality, integrated pharmaceutical care and medication access for low-income, uninsured patients in Northern Virginia. Founded on the principle that everyone should be able to access quality, affordable health care regardless of their socio-economic background, the NSC model is based on best practices research and focuses on economies of scale, with all partner clinics using one pharmacy for the benefit of all. Since 2006, it has dispensed more than 320,000 prescriptions valued at more than $82 million. For more information, visit https://novascriptscentral.org/.
We believe surplus medication should be managed as a resource. The RemediChain platform incentivizes community members to text a picture of their unused prescriptions. When chemotherapy is identified, the platform generates a prescription donation form and a link that covers shipping costs to our facility. A licensed pharmacist inspects medications for safety before adding them to inventory. Our virtual inventory is available to a network of cancer centers across the nation connecting vulnerable patients with cancer treatment they could not receive by any other means. RemediChain’s #FlipYourScrip program was named a World Changing Ideas finalist by Fast Company in 2021. For more information, visit www.remedichain.org.