Donating Medical Equipment and Medication in Florida?
June 16, 2009 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Can you donate unused medications and durable medical equipment (hearing aids) in Florida?

A member of my immediate family passed away last week and I'm trying to help square away some loose ends. It occurred to us that there is a bunch of unused medication along with a pair of very new hearing aids (over the ear-type) that are unfortunately going to go to waste. I think there is also a walker and a nebuliser.

Is there any place that this stuff can be donated (rather than going to someplace that will sell it for profit)? My aunt is in Lee County if it makes a difference.

I know that there are a few audiologist Mefites here, so I'm hoping that they might be able to lend their advice. Maybe a couple of pharmacists, too? It's just such a shame to waste this stuff with so many people without insurance and unable to pay for the very things that are just sitting there un-used...

Thanks for your help.
posted by dancinglamb to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
I would check with an organization like Doctors without Border to see if they'd take your stuff.
posted by jmd82 at 10:51 AM on June 16, 2009

Any hospital with an audiology dept. will take used hearing aids, to distribute to low-income people in need, for cheap.

I would think that used meds, once dispensed, would not be considered for use by others.
posted by Danf at 10:51 AM on June 16, 2009

I am very sorry for your loss.

I have no idea about Florida or hearing aids. But recently I asked my Pennsylvania doctor this question. I wanted to get rid of several unopened boxes of Lidoderm patches (they sell for $500-$600 a box retail). According to my doctor, he said donations aren't allowed because every medication needs a very precise paper trail. I'm sure there are other reasons as well.

My doctor could be wrong or Florida might be different from Pennsylvania. Hopefully someone will come along with definitive answers.
posted by vincele at 10:58 AM on June 16, 2009

I can save you the trouble- Doctors Without Borders will not take your items.
posted by kimdog at 11:07 AM on June 16, 2009

You might ask a pharmacist about repository programs for the medication. The few places that do accept meds, only accept it if it's sealed or a single-dose.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:08 AM on June 16, 2009

If you know someone who's traveling, they could take the meds to a local hospital in a third-world country. I dropped off some unused (but not sealed) antibiotics, antimalarials, etc... at a childrens hospital in Cambodia a few months ago and they were more than happy to take them, although I cannot speak for what they did with them. Is this safe? Of course not, but the local hospital presumably figures its better than nothing and isn't subject to the liability issues that large groups like Doctors Without Borders have.
posted by zachlipton at 11:41 AM on June 16, 2009

Unfortunately, there are only a few states that have drug repositories. For the most part, you can only take them to a pharmacy to have them disposed of safely.
posted by ishotjr at 4:12 PM on June 16, 2009

BTW, I looked, and was unable to find any information on a Florida drug repository.
posted by ishotjr at 4:12 PM on June 16, 2009

I've also tried (unsuccessfully) to find places to dispose of unused medications in Florida. I called a couple of local pharmacies and asked around, and no one knew of place that would accept or dispose of unused meds. I still didn't like the idea of flushing bioactive chemicals into the water supply, so here's the no-effort solution I came up with: I'm leaving the pills in my car for the summer. Heat and time both degrade organic molecules. I figure a hundred hot/cold cycles in a roasting car will do the trick. After that, I'll feel less guilty about flushing.
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:17 PM on June 16, 2009

It's probably illegal just give these thing to someone who could use them, so whatever you do be sure not to ask around at a place where elderly people gather such as the city or county run meal sites or day centers for the elderly.

Even if the hearing aids can't be used by someone else, those batteries are expensive.

If you have a place there that provides short term housing to people who've come in from out of town, they could probably use the walker.
posted by yohko at 8:43 AM on June 17, 2009

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