North Texas Volunteer Group Expands Eligibility for Free Community Pharmacy


Michael Pazzaglini is the CEO of the North Texas branch of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, an organization that provides financial and emotional support to people in need across the region.

“The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is here to meet the needs of those who lack food or money to pay their utility bills,” he said.

The organization also operates a pharmacy that fills prescriptions for free.

“Often times when our volunteers go out into the field and visit the homes of the people we serve, we find that there is an underlying cause for their needs,” he said. “In terms of our pharmacy – why we created it – what we were learning is that people weren’t taking their drugs. They weren’t taking them because they couldn’t afford them.”

Without their medication, Pazzaglini said, the people Saint Vincent de Paul serves typically get sick and lose their jobs or incur expensive hospital bills. This is why the organization started its community pharmacy in 2018.

Texas has both the highest number and the highest percentage of uninsured residents in the country.

“We looked at research conducted by the Urban Institute in 2018, which showed that approximately 4.1 million people in Texas were uninsured and lived below the poverty line,” he said. . “We knew there was a great need for a stand-alone pharmacy.”

The Pazzaglini branch has been occupied since it opened. But they have been particularly busy since the start of the pandemic.

“We [gave away] about $ 3.4 million in drugs and about 17,000 or so 30-day prescriptions, ”Pazzaglini said. “This year, we are on track to fill 35,000 prescriptions. Doubling, essentially.

Pazzaglini says the increase in demand is linked to the thousands of jobs lost during the pandemic. But he notes that Texas was struggling to meet health care needs even before COVID-19. He says it is important to tackle the root causes of poverty.

“If we can keep people healthy, guess what? They don’t fall into this cycle of poverty or the cycle of debt. They do not depend on the services of others for their emergency assistance.

The Saint-Vincent-de-Paul pharmacy recently renegotiated agreements with suppliers to offer more free prescriptions to even more people.

“We’re only scratching the surface with our pharmacy, but that’s why we’re expanding eligibility. We’ve gone from individuals needing to be 200% below the poverty line to helping those below 300%. “, did he declare.

Pazzaglini says it’s a step towards the goal of helping everyone in need.

Do you have any advice? Email Hady Mawajdeh at [email protected] You can follow Hady on Twitter @hadysauce.

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