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Free medicine available Saturday


The Daily Reflector

Thursday, March 23, 2017

People who have a difficult time paying for over-the-counter medicines, like aspirin, cough medicine, allergy medicine and vitamins, will have the chance to get them free at the Koinonia Christian Center on March 25.

NC MedAssist will hold a free “Over-the-Counter Medicine Give Away Day” next Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the center at 1405 S.W. Greenville Blvd. Identification is not required to participate.

“The Vidant Health Foundation is proud to sponsor the over-the-counter medicine giveaway in Pitt County,” said Kahla Hall, director of the community benefit grants program with the Vidant Health Foundation. “The Over-the-Counter (OTC) Give Away Day is expected to have a huge impact on the community. We know that even with insurance, many individuals cannot afford OTC products. The giveaway helps those individuals fill their medicine cabinets with needed items such as children’s Tylenol, cold medicine and even Band-Aids.”

This will be the second OTC event held in Pitt County. In spring 2015, NC MedAssist served 320 individuals through a similar giveaway event. Individuals will receive $100 worth of OTC products, which includes items such as allergy relief, pain relief, indigestion relief, cold medicine, first-aid and vitamins. NC MedAssist’s overall goal is to help ease the burden for those who are making the choice between buying food or purchasing medication.

The OTC program is completely operated by volunteers. Serving close to 800 individuals in one day takes many hands to make sure the program runs smoothly and ensures that all patients are served before the door closes. NC MedAssist is collaborating with Health Assist (Access East), East Carolina University and other safety-net organizations to recruit community members to serve in roles such as pharmacy consultation, client ‘personal shoppers’ and OTC sorters. Anyone who would like to volunteer to help is asked to go to the website www.medassist.org to sign up.

“We are honored to bring an OTC Give Away Day back to Pitt County, thanks to the Vidant Health Foundation,” said Executive Director Lori Giang. “NC MedAssist is excited to work with our partner agencies, Access East and ECU and other community organizations to give back to our neighbors in need. Through the OTC partnership, we will be able to reach more and more individuals and educate them on our free pharmacy program resources. No one should go without medicine, and this program is enabling us to reach those who are unaware of our services.”

Last fiscal year, NC MedAssist distributed more than $1.9 million dollars of donated OTC medication to North Carolina individuals and clinic partners. This fiscal year, the organization plans to distribute more than $2 million. There currently are more than 12,000 people in Pitt County who live below the federal poverty level and do not qualify for insurance. For more information on the OTC Program and NC MedAssist, please visit medassist.org.

In addition, the OTC Give Away committee would like to thank Great Harvest Bread Company, Target – Greenville, Subway/The Patel Group, Walgreens – Winterville, and Chick-fil-A – Winterville for their community support.

Founded in 1997, NC MedAssist is a statewide non-profit pharmacy that provides free prescription medicines to low-income, uninsured North Carolinians. MedAssist offers three programs that address the needs of children and adults: the Free Pharmacy program, the Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medicine program and the Senior Care program. MedAssist dispenses more than $39 million worth of free prescription medication to 14,000 low-income North Carolinians each year. To learn more about NC MedAssist and find out how to get involved, visit www.medassist.org, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.