Special Projects Fund

Project Title

The Hope Dispensary of the Southern Tier

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

July 9, 2009


Central NY






Prescription medications are particularly costly and sometimes simply unaffordable for uninsured individuals, especially during difficult economic climates.

Yet these medications are necessary for all individuals—particularly those with chronic diseases—to manage their medical conditions and avoid costly emergency department care or hospital admissions. The Dispensary of Hope, a nonprofit that collects unused sample medications from physicians’ offices across the United States, was created to directly address this issue. Sample medications are then distributed to clinics and pharmacies that serve low-income and uninsured individuals throughout the United States and abroad. A community planning committee and coalition formed in the Southern Tier region of New York State developed plans for a pharmacy using the Dispensary of Hope’s model. The committee approached the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) to request start-up funds to continue the formation and implementation of “The Hope Dispensary of the Southern Tier,” which they planned to administer through Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital, Inc. in Binghamton, New York.

In Binghamton, New York, many local residents struggle to pay for prescription medications due to low incomes, lack of insurance, and lack of employment. Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital (Lourdes) will establish the Hope Dispensary of the Southern Tier to provide free prescription medications and connect low-income and uninsured residents of the Binghamton area with health care services.

The Dispensary of Hope is a nonprofit network of 33 sites across five states that distributes excess medication from physicians’ offices, distributors, and manufacturers to uninsured and low-income patients. NYHealth support will allow Lourdes to establish a Hope Dispensary site in an underserved area of Binghamton, New York. Lourdes will recruit local doctors to donate sample medications and provide them with prepaid packages, labels, and detailed instructions to simplify the process. Based on the success of Hope Dispensary sites in other states, an estimated 150 local physicians will participate, and 8,000 patients per year will obtain 25,000 prescription medications free of charge. The site will also connect eligible patients with primary care providers, Pharmaceutical Access Prescription programs, and insurance coverage programs to encourage long-term access to health care services. Lourdes expects to sustain the project through cost savings from improved medication adherence and reduced emergency department utilization.