Changing patients’ lives
James learned the lesson long ago that in order to stay stable, safe, and healthy, he needed to do one thing: Stick strictly to his doctor-prescribed mental health medications. But recently, unable to afford his combination of expensive psychotropic drugs, James could not do that very thing—and so he ended up in trouble again. This time, he was sent to prison.
After getting out, James learned about TLC, one of SIRUM’s pharmacy partners dispensing free medicine to people like him, the medically indigent. With the help of the donated medications SIRUM collects for TLC, cost no longer stood in the way of James taking care of his mental health needs. “I’m so grateful. When I take my meds as I’m supposed to, I’m in good shape,” says James. And he knows he’s not alone. “Most people I know around here coming out of prison don’t have jobs—or anything at all. Having access to the medicine they need keeps them on track, doing well, making their way back.”
“When you’re single and you don’t have children, and you can’t afford insurance, there’s a lot of aid you don’t qualify for,” says Natalie as she waits for her latest refill of donated medications. “And there are a lot of people like me falling through the cracks. Unfortunately, when you can’t afford to take care of your health, you have to just let it go.”
Natalie knew her diagnosis: hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, and palpitations. In fact, she’d known it for years. But, she didn’t know where to find the money to afford her medications, so she went without them and hoped for the best. Finally, after her conditions sent her to the hospital for a second time, she knew things had to change. “I did my research and I found Open Bible Medical Clinic, which referred me to TLC Pharmacy [which receives SIRUM drug donations],” recalls Natalie, who vividly remembers the first time she received donated medicine with deep gratitude. “It was definitely a Godsend.”
Maria is making an investment in her future by attending a certification program to become a home health aide. But, the cost of school is greater than just the tuition. As a student, she does not have health insurance, which means her monthly medication costs can be burdensome. If Maria fully and consistently controls her high blood pressure and asthma, she faces a few hundred dollars a month in out-of-pocket medication costs.
TLC pharmacy’s ability to dispense the free donated medications that SIRUM collects from Colorado’s nursing homes means Maria faces one less tough choice in life. She can afford to take care of her health and her rent, among other basic needs. And, she can even afford to invest in her education, putting her on the path to a much-needed additional source of income for her household.
“This program has really helped me. A lot. More than a lot! The most!” exclaims a heartened Maria as she heads to the pick-up window, struggling to put into words just how much these medications mean to her.