A North Texas organization is on an mission to extend a helping hand. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of North Texas has opened the first public free pharmacy in the state.
The group soft launched the pilot pharmacy program nearly six months ago and saw firsthand how much the service was needed.
“By word of mouth only – no marketing push – just word of mouth as of Friday we have dispensed 872 prescriptions with a market value of about $210,000,” said Kate Rose Marquez with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of North Texas. “That’s tremendous and that’s before today. Once the word is out, we expect that to really increase.”
On Tuesday, the group will hold an official ribbon cutting, opening the pharmacy for widespread usage.
This resource is available to individuals who:
-Have no health insurance coverage.
-Have a household income at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level
-Who have a valid prescription (either an original paper copy or one at another pharmacy)
-Who live in the nine-county service area (Dallas, Collin, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro, Rockwall).
The service provides free life-sustaining and possibly life-saving medications such as insulin, asthma inhalers, blood pressure medication and mental health medication. The medication is donated from pharmaceutical companies. The pharmacy does not provide opioids.
“For many of [the clients], it’s a juggling act,” pharmacy managing director Hank Hermann said. “[They have to ask] ‘Do I buy food for my family or do I take my medications?’ If they are ill and are not able to go to work – generally they do not get paid. So, it’s a vicious cycle and we are trying to lift people about that.”
“There are many people who need help and don’t know that there is this help available and to know that they can change their lives and save their lives and that allows them to be a better parent, a better spouse, a better employee – what a gift,” Marquez said.
One of the first people to use the service was Vincent Flores of Irving. He said he has survived both a heart attack and stroke and this medication is vital to him.
“It has made a tremendous difference. It has definitely been a help and blessing to me by providing these prescriptions it takes the weight off of me and helps me perform and go through my daily routines,” Flores said.
There is a four-year plan to expand that free pharmacy to other North Texas counties and eventually statewide.
The pharmacy is at 5750 Pineland Dr. #280, Dallas, TX 75231
More information and how to apply: St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy