In Ohio, people with cancer who have several medicine drugs they can no longer use—for example, because their strategic plan or dosage has become—can now donate their surplus medications to other patients in need via a new prescription cancer drug repository program at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC) Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital, the institution stated.
In October 2019, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy revised its rules. It developed a plan that allows companies such as clinics and pharmacies to receive eligible donated drugs, which, in turn, provide financially strapped patients. The program now includes orally applied cancer drugs.
“Day after day, our physicians and apothecaries have sufferers bring in full or partial bottles of their oral chemotherapy medicines, often unopened and seldom still sealed, stating: ‘My treatment changed and I just got this in the mail,’ or ‘My dose was decreased, and I just picked this up from the drugstore yesterday, but I can’t use it,’” stated Julie Kennerly-Shah, PharmD, the associate director of pharmacy at the James Cancer Hospital, in Columbus.
The Drug Case
“Oncology patients are very aware of the market toxicity that a cancer analysis brings upon them, and on others like them. Many had difficulties accessing these medications in the first place, such as high copays and long waits for prior permission. They need to do something with these drugs to help other people, rather than lose them.”
OSUCCC began collecting gifts for its cancer drug repository program in January, with a little pilot initiative including two medications: temozolomide (Temodar, Merck) and capecitabine (Xeloda, Roche).
“After a review period to assess what are the highest-need provision for the pilot phase of this record, we decided these medications because of their extensive use in a lot of tumor examples as great as a high level of need included, with patients often facing high copays or long prior authorization rules,” Dr. Kennerly- Shah said.
The first subject obtained medications dispensed through the program in February 2020. OSUCCC intends to monitor the business for 60 days to assess the volume and other operational problems, before scaling it up to include other oncology medicines.
On Feb. 19, 2020, the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) released a position statement describing its care for medication repository programs solely for oral pills, provided they are maintained within a closed system.
The Cancer Drug Repository Program
ASCO wrote that 13 states have laws that allow repository programs for additional cancer medicines, numbers, and devices. Nonetheless, besides OSUCCC, few, if any, other healing centers or pharmacies have invested significantly in developing a cancer drug repository program.
Ray Page, DO, PhD, a medical oncologist and hematologist at The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Fort Worth, Texas, and the immediate past chair of ASCO’s Clinical Practice Committee, has been pushing for the creation of a cancer medicine repository in the state for several years.
Legislation was passed in 2017, after which the Department of State Health Services’ Pharmacy Branch spent two years increasing rules to govern the performance. When requests to participate in the state pilot drug repository program went out, Dr. Page’s cancer center was the first to apply and support approval.