A community charitable pharmacy is a pharmacy that serves with the expressed purpose of improving health outcomes among the vulnerable by reducing health disparities and increasing medication access.
Typically, a community charitable pharmacy includes standard business features, such as:
- Structured as a nonprofit 501(c)3 or equivalent (university nonprofit, government nonprofit, etc.).
- In receipt of a valid, current pharmacy and/or pharmacist license, or similar dispensing authority.
- Adherence to all local and federal regulations pertaining to the management of a licensed community charitable pharmacy and/or clinic.
- Dispensing a therapeutically broad formulary of medications for free or at a significantly reduced cost to the patient.
- Bridging patients to external programs (such as Patient Assistance Programs, mail-order discount programs, vouchers, etc.) that are free or which assure a significantly reduced cost to the patient.
- Eligibility processes that determine qualification for income status (not precluding other eligibility status features specific to the goals of each site, such as health insurance status, assets, etc.).
- Processes, culture, and systems which assure the dignity and respect for each patient served.
- Business hours and dispensing practices which allow for patients’ continual access to their medications, should the patient seek such access.
- Integration into the community healthcare safety net to support inbound referrals from prescribers for qualifying patients as a standard business practice (private practices, hospitals, free clinics).
- Integration into the community healthcare safety net to support outbound integration with community services necessary for improving health outcomes (medical home enrollment, care management, public health coverage model enrollment, ancillary medical services, etc.)
The above features of Community Charitable pharmacies form a three-part strategy, which has been studied and proven (research described below) to result in a positive impact on health outcomes:
- Carry essential medication via a smart, therapeutically-effective formulary targeted to manage primary care health conditions,
- Dispense the volume of medication needed to serve all patients, and
- Provide that medication in a consistent supply, day after day, year after year, for the patients who maintain health through medication therapies.