Tech Transfer eNews Blog

U of Minnesota start-up takes unused meds and donates them to people in need

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: September 16th, 2020

A nonprofit start-up from the University of Minnesota (UMN) is donating unused medications to people across the state who struggle to afford their prescriptions.

It is estimated that Minnesota’s long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living centers, throw away $16 million worth of safe, unexpired medications every year. Roundtable Rx aims to redirect those meds to benefit people who are uninsured or otherwise unable to pay for them.

“We’re wasting so much medication that’s safe,” says Rowan Mahon, founder and managing director of RoundtableRx. “It just is crazy to me that sometimes people have to make that decision between paying their rent, buying groceries or buying their medication. Our healthcare system sometimes puts people in that position, and I really want RoundtableRx to help with that.”

So far, the start-up has built partnerships with seven Minnesota healthcare systems representing 33 hospitals and nearly 200 clinics. It also has arrangements in place to receive donated meds from the largest long-term care facilities in the state.

RoundtableRx plans to expand its collaborations with healthcare, environmental and social service organizations. In addition, the start-up aims to address the greater need for access to medication in the wake of COVID-19.

“The number of individuals who are losing their jobs is extremely significant, and when you lose your job, you lose insurance,” says Mahon. “As the pandemic continues, we know the medication shortages that are already happening are going to get worse. Our goal is to begin helping individuals across the state as quickly as possible.”

Source: University of Minnesota News and Events

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