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Medicine Security

Imagine not having an antibiotic to treat your child’s pneumonia, or enough insulin for your own diabetes. A nightmare for some. A reality for nearly 2 billion people with no access to medicines, causing a cascade of misery and suffering.

A Goal Worth Striving For


Medicine security means that every clinic, health worker and patient – everyone – around the world has reliable, equitable access to the medicine and supplies they need to achieve good health.

How Do We Get There?

To achieve medicine security, communities need medicine accessibility, availability, affordability and acceptability. Communities without any one of these four components can be medicine insecure—but more commonly, these pieces intersect. And often, they’re underscored by individual poverty.

Even currently medicine secure communities may be at risk of becoming insecure. Emergencies can disrupt medicine security—damaging pharmacies, disrupting supply chains and forcing survivors to flee their homes without medications. And as cases of non-communicable disease trend upward around the world, the need for consistent access to medicine and medical supplies for disease management grows, too.   

Where Do We Begin?

For millions of people every year, medicine security begins with Americares and the partners who help support Americares medicine programs. To improve health outcomes and combat medicine insecurity for patients and communities, Americares increases access to and quality of medicine and medical supplies for partner hospitals, clinics and medical teams. Americares is the leading nonprofit provider of donated medicine and medical supplies, distributing medicine and medical supplies to an average of 90 countries each year. Last year, Americares provided more than 10 million prescriptions to patients around the world. Providing access to medicines saves lives.

Americares Distribution Center staff members prepare shipments of PPE and hygiene supplies to be delivered to partners in Colombia in response to Hurricane Eta and Iota.

Medical Outreach

Americares is committed to providing medicine security and eradicating medicine insecurity around the world. Each year, Americares Medical Outreach program supports volunteer medical teams making 1,000 trips to more than 75 countries with medicine, medical supplies and educational resources, including training materials for safe surgery and best practice overviews for medical assignments. These medical teams provide primary care, perform surgeries, respond to emergencies and strengthen local health care capacity in communities where even basic medical care is often non-existent or inaccessible.

This partnership brings quality health care to more people—in more places. The volunteer teams supported by Americares Medical Outreach program treat nearly 700,000 patients in a given year.

“Since the pandemic, cash donations have slowed dramatically which affects the amount of medications and supplies we can purchase. The ability to receive most needed medications for our clinic pharmacy from Americares means we are able to continue to provide for the patients in our clinic. Our patients are very poor and would not have the access to purchase medications elsewhere if we weren’t able to give to them.”

Neil Heskel, MD Haiti

Training and Building

Americares training invests in health workers and builds stronger, more resilient health centers. Last year, Americares training increased the knowledge and skills of more than 10,000 health workers. Training topics included mental health and prenatal nutrition, infection control, supply chain management and disaster preparedness. By December 2020, Americares COVID-specific training had involved nearly 30,000 participants.

Karitza Melendez, Assistant Director Fred Weisman Free Clinic staff in Bridgeport Connecticut, Sept 2, 2020 (Photo/Americares)

Medicine distribution at Philippines clinic

Building the Chain, Link by Link

Americares continues to refine and improve every step of our medicine and medical supply chain to streamline ordering and inventory management. This includes custom technology at the Stamford distribution center, as well as software training for local partners, with the goal of adequate supply and less waste. In Liberia alone, Americares last year trained health workers at 16 sites in skills information and storeroom management and logistics to forecasting and ordering. In Tanzania and Malawi, improvements also included pharmacy repairs to keep medicine secure and ensure last-mile safety for patients. Americares also stocks emergency medicine and supplies in the U.S., Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in times of crisis.

View the video from Ghana – showing how innovation strengthens the supply chain, even to the last mile.