Practices Health care

MEDforNGOs & MEDforU

Return and re-distribution of unused medication, reduce of medication waste.

The project

The program MEDforNGOs is exclusively directed to charitable bodies. Through the homonymous specific MEDforNGOs software which has been developed by GIVMED, the public benefit purpose entities may register their medication needs and their medicine surplus that they wish to donate.  Consequently, the information is automatically spread to all the charitable bodies of their network and GIVMED coordinates the whole donation process

More extensively, the benefits of using the MEDforNGOs software are the following:  

  1. Coverage of medicine needs:
    • capability of medicine orders from other charitable bodies through this software;  
    • capability of medicine orders by pharmaceutical companies as a part of the program “Pharma for the society”; 
    • awareness and promotion of each charitable body as a medicine collection point where individuals and charitable bodies may address, in order to offer medicine they do not need. 
  2. Utilization of surplus medicine: capability of donating medicines that have not been used from one charitable body to another one through the software/system. 
  3. Electronic operation system for each pharmacy’s storage, available for computers and cellphones: Capability to register medicine either through the unique barcode each box has, or by trade name. 
  4. Promotion of the medicine needs to the public and sharing information regarding each social pharmacy’s actions. Moreover, the promotion has a medicine collection point and a member of the GIVMED network. 

People who find it difficult to buy their own medicines are forced to look for municipal social pharmacies or non-profit organizations if their medicines are available. Through the MEDforU service application, GIVMED provided a platform that eliminates this time-consuming process by immediately informing everyone about the availability of their medicines

For persons with access to mobile devices or computers, the MEDforU application is developed ( Through it, it is possible to search for the medicines needed, see availability in social pharmacies and the appropriate documentation needed in order to pick them up. Furthermore, the application is available in Greek, English, Arabic, Farsi and French, to serve the refugee population as well. When he/she has completed registering all the needs, by clicking on “Complete Order” he/she can see the social pharmacies where the needed medicines are available. The application, based on the needs that the user has registered, immediately and automatically recommends social pharmacies in which he/she can receive the medication requested with specific documentation. The same procedure is followed by telephone, for persons who do not have access to technological facilities. The user can state his/her medication needs, based on a prescription he/she already has, in two ways: trade name or active substance and concentration. 

The impact of the good practice

Medicine donation: A life-saving action of solidarity 

GIVMED considers the return of unused medication an action of great value for vulnerable people, the society, the economy and the environment. This issue is constantly at the forefront due to the significant quantities of medication that have been prescribed and dispensed and that, eventually, are not used by other needy patients. Only in Greece, an estimated 34.000.000 packs of medicine expire in the households and as a result are thrown away each year.  

Improving prescription access for vulnerable people – enhancing their quality of life 

Medicine donation for the purpose of re-distributing surplus medication ensures access to necessary pharmaceutical therapies and medicines to people who lack adequate prescription insurance coverage and/or are in need of financial assistance. While reducing public healthcare costs, this action also enhances the quality of life of vulnerable people as often life-sustaining medications can become very costly and may compete with other basic needs. Therefore, medicines donation and reuse programs save part of their low income that could be dispensed to other vital services. 

Helping victims who are in urgent need as a result of natural or other types of disasters 

Medicine donation helps to improve the urgent health needs of those who have been victims of a state of disaster emergency or a public health disaster. Through a prescription medicine donation repository, medical facilities, social pharmacies and other eligible partners are able to swiftly re-dispense prescription medicine and supplies, alleviating the suffering of people affected by disasters and easing the pressing medicine needs. The World Health Organization has drafted updated guidelines for medicine donations which advise on how to make effective and useful donations in such complex situations. 

Preventing health and environmental risks – reducing medication waste 

Tons of leftover medicines are tossed in sinks, toilets or the garbage or improperly incinerated every day, alarming environmental protection agencies on the health risks and damage of the ecosystems, particularly the further contamination of the water supply. Some products, such inhalers, could also be of certain danger if punctured or thrown into a fire or incinerator. The water contamination resulting from these practices not only impacts aquatic life, but may affect the long-term implications of pharmaceuticals ranging from sex hormones to antibiotics present in drinking water. Medicine donation reduces unnecessary medication waste at homes, nurseries, health and care facilities etc., by allowing the reuse of medication by other patients, and thus reducing their environmental impact. Equally, these programs ensure proper safety and management of any medications collected and maintained by participating healthcare facilities and pharmacies. 

Saving important public health costs 

Medicines donation could provide important savings to health care systems, by cutting large amounts of preventable costs, minimizing the amount of unused medications, while helping to achieve prescription medicine reduction. They also have a more far-reaching impact, such as securing sustainable supply chains and fostering markets and public services that increases vulnerable patient access. Medicine donation programs are a common practice in the United States since decades with multilevel impact to the country’s health system. 

Avoiding the discredit of unused medicines 

Pharmaceutical companies account for a significant source of medication supplies. However, unavoidably medication remains unallocated and expires. As a result, extensive amounts of unused medicines are withdrawn from pharmaceutical companies and destroyed due to forthcoming expiration dates, thus discrediting their value as a social asset. 

Making a culture of solidarity and giving 

Medicine donations not only can make treatment accessible for patients in need but also forms a culture of caring while managing responsibly personal surplus assets. Merely by giving leftover medicines helps replicating social behaviors in a wide range of community activities, meriting commitment, compassion and solidarity and educating on the importance of unselfishly offering. 

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