Banco Farmaceutico (Medicines Bank) was founded in 2000 by a group of young pharmacists as they recognised the need to address a then undervalued issue: the poor require a job, a bed, food, clothes but also, and often exceedingly more, medicines.
With the aid of Cdo Opere Sociali and Federfarma they established an organisation. In December 2000, following the example of the Food Bank’s National Food Collection Day they organised in Milan city the first Medicines Collection Day (MCD). At the end of the day, they collected 15,000 packs of medicines among the 250 pharmacies that participated in the initiative.
Since then, they extended the course of action beyond the initial boundaries of the province of Milan. Today, Banco Farmaceutico operates in all of Italy and can count on the support of 4,944 pharmacies, with more than 17,000 pharmacists and 22,000 volunteers.
On its twentieth anniversary, the 2020 edition of MCD lasted one full week (from February 4 to 10). During the course of the weekly event, 541,175 over-the-counter medicine packs were collected, for an economic value of 4.072.346 euro). These were then delivered to 1,859 charities affiliated with Banco Farmaceutico Foundation Onlus (established in 2008 – see the full Statute here)
Consequently, in order to learn and address efficaciously the regional needs and requirements the following organisations were founded: Banco Farmaceutico Torino Onlus (operating since 2003 but established as an association in 2013) and Banco Farmaceutico Milan Onlus (operating in the area since 2013 but established as an association in 2015). The Banco is also present in Spain (since 2008), Portugal (since 2009) and Argentina (since 2012).
In the course of the years Banco Farmaceutico developed further activities as a means to both guarantee continuous support to the medicinal requirements, including mandatory prescription products, of the affiliated charities (Italian and foreign), and fight healthcare poverty. These are as follow:
- Banco Farmaceutico Research (BFR) was established in 2008 in support of the management of Corporate Donations, a system that was opened in 2012.
- In 2019, 33 corporate pharmaceutical organisations donated 959.475 medicinal packs worth 12.014.677 euro.
- In 2013, we initiated the return of unused and unexpired medicines program (RUUM). In 2019, 204.806 packs of medicines were collected among 425 pharmacies for a value of 3.252.401 Euros.
- Since 2017 in a more systematic way, Banco Farmaceutico implements international cooperation projects, delivering medicines to people living in poverty and to charities in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Niger, Libya, Kosovo, Gibuti, Somalia, Venezuela, South Sudan e Syria.
Moreover, in 2013, the Health Poverty Observatory (HPO) was established. It constitutes of a team of academics and scholars from different backgrounds (Medicine and Public Health, Statistics, Sociology, Civil Society Organisations and Research Institutions) whose aim is to understand the underlying factors causing healthcare poverty via research, scientific publications, articles, conferences, informative articles. Each year the HPO publishes the report on healthcare poverty. This is the most comprehensive document known in Italy on the issue.
Since March 2020, Banco Farmaceutico has also been involved in addressing the global health emergency caused by Covid-19. Along with the normal activities in support of charities, we also implemented projects aimed at providing medicines and equipment to doctors and nurses working in the hospitals and healthcare facilities, which are tackling the pandemic. We have aligned with these entities to avoid lack means needed to do their job on top of the additional responsibilities they have been asked to take on.
The medicines donated in 20 years
- In 20 years as a result of the MCD we collected 5.860.912 packs of medicines for a total value of 38.227.796 euro
- Through the Corporate Donation channel between 2012 and December 2019 we gathered 6.851.009 packs of medicines for a total value of 63.672.017 euro
- Between 2013 and December 2019, we collected via the RUUM initiative 719.022 packs of medicines for a total value of 7.458.559 euro.
Overall, during the 20 years of MCD and over the period considered as a result of the CD and RUUM initiatives, Banco Farmaceutico collected 13.430.943 packs of medicines for a total value of 109.358.372 euro.