Free drugs: A Dallas pharmacy that offers a new way to help the poor
by Dallas Morning News Editorial | September 29, 2018
Imagine having to choose between buying medicine for your chronic condition and keeping a roof over your head.
Far too many North Texans find themselves in this situation: Pay for medicine and the rent doesn’t get paid or their families go without food. And tragically, thousands are forced to make life-threatening decisions to go without the drugs they need because they simply can’t afford them.
That’s why we’re so encouraged by the free St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy that officially opened this week in Dallas’ Vickery Meadow neighborhood. Housed in the Northwest Bible Church Community Center, it’s believed to be the state’s first pharmacy serving the general public to dispense free medicine to qualified low-income residents.
It’s a game-changer that could put a dent in the systemic cycle of persistent ailments that plague poor communities, such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
The nonprofit St. Vincent de Paul receives donated medication from pharmaceutical companies and from the nonprofit Dispensary of Hope. In the last several months, the pharmacy has functioned largely by word of mouth. Still, its volunteer pharmacists have filled over 800 prescriptions, and medicine valued at more than $500,000 has been donated, pharmacy officials say.
Much credit goes to Henry “Hank” Hermann, the pharmacy’s managing director, for persistence in getting this effort off the ground.
In Dallas and in this state, the need is great. About 30 percent of children in Dallas still live in poverty. And it’s troubling that about 1 in 6 Texans didn’t have health insurance in 2016. That’s sobering in a state with such a robust economy.
We’re glad St. Vincent wants to partner with other nonprofits and health-care providers to serve those in need in its service area. That’s a nine-county area that makes up the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, which includes Dallas, Collin, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro and Rockwall counties.
We urge other providers to aggressively get behind this charitable effort. It’s a shining example of the good that marshaling benevolent and volunteer forces in this community can do to improve our neighbors’ lives.
St. Vincent de Paul Free Pharmacy
— The pharmacy is open to clients with no health insurance and from households with income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($25,100 for a family of four).
— Clients must have a valid prescription, either an original paper copy or one at another pharmacy.
— The pharmacy is available to receive applications from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Because medication cannot be dispensed without a pharmacist present, customers may call the pharmacy to learn when a pharmacist will be on-site so they can pick up their prescriptions.
— Call the pharmacy at 469-232-9902.
Source: St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy
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