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What Can You Do with Your Unused Medical Supplies?

Marc Kaplan

Did you know that almost 9 million children under the age of 5 die each year due to lack of access to simple medical supplies. And that's just children under 5!

People around the world are dying. And it's because they don't have access to the billions of dollars of usable medical supplies that go to landfills in the United States each year.

Read on for the 5 most frequently asked questions about donating medical supplies. Learn how you can do something useful with your excess usable supplies today.

Who Can Donate?

Donating supplies, often called donating in-kind, can be done on a small or large scale. Most donations come from these three groups:

  1. Individuals: people like you and me who have surplus medical supplies or equipment that they don't need. Often individual donations come from family members of deceased loved ones. They might have a stock of supplies that remain unused, or medical devices that are no longer being used.
  2. Hospitals: hospital recovery and donation programs will often set up bins within hospitals. Then staff can efficiently donate unused supplies which are collected regularly.
  3. Medical Suppliers: medical manufacturers and distributors can make donations. They often include items that have damaged packaging, returned but usable products, production overages, or simply new items donated charitably.

Are you an individual donor, but want to make a bigger impact? Try contacting your local hospital to see if they are partnered with an organization to donate their surplus supplies. If not, find a local organization and see what you can do to help them connect.

What Medical Supplies Can I Donate?

There are three main categories of donatable medical supplies:

  1. Disposable Supplies: bandages, alcohol pads, gloves, diapers, catheters, soap, sutures, etc.
  2. Medical Equipment: wheelchairs, crutches, machines, or biomedical equipment
  3. Pharmaceuticals: prescription medications or supplements

While each organization will have specific lists of the supplies they accept, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Did my unused supplies expire over 12 months ago? If so, they may not qualify for donation.
  • Are my disposable supplies opened, or did they have direct contact with a patient? They may not be suitable for donation.
  • What condition is my used medical equipment in? If it's new or gently used and fully functional with no need for repair, most organizations will accept it.
  • Do I have all the cables, attachments, and accessories that came with my equipment? Then it should qualify for donation.

While these serve as a general rule of thumb, make sure to partner with your chosen donation service to determine more specific guidelines.

Don't have much to donate? Give time! Many non-profits and charities need volunteers to coordinate logistics and execute projects. See how you can help out today!

When Can I Donate?

Most organizations are always accepting donations because they are always shipping out supplies.

Many of these programs have monthly and annual goals they are trying to reach. So don't wait to contact them if you think you have supplies or equipment that they could use.

If you have concerns about the timing of your donation contact the organization you've chosen to donate to and ask for scheduling details.

Where Do My Donations Go?

Where your donations end up depends largely on on the organization you choose to partner with.

Some focus on donations to needy communities in the United States. Others specialize in international donations. And some do both.

Here is a list of a few organizations and where their donations go:

  • Partners For World Health: monthly or bi-monthly shipments to Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.
  • MedShare: ships medical supplies to developing countries worldwide and within the United States to free clinics in California and Georgia.
  • Operation USA: sends supplies to Ecuador, Haiti, Nepal, the Philippines, and the United States in California and Native American programs.
  • Medical Bridges: has shipped to over 81 countries over the past 17 years.
  • MAP: provided medical care and supplies to 93 different countries in the year 2017 alone.
  • Crosslink Memphis: sends supplies to Tanzania, Peru, India, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic.

You can rest assured that your donations are put to good use no matter which organization you partner with. But if you have a passion or interest in a specific country or region, you can take your pick from any of these options or many more.

Why Should I Donate?

The beneficiaries of your medical donations are often in life or death situations. These can be resolved by access to basic medical attention. There are supplies that are being thrown away in massive quantities on a daily basis for no good reason.

These children and people in need have parents, siblings, grandparents, and others who love them but can't meet these fundamental needs. Your donation could literally mean the difference between life and death for those who suffer because of limited access to supplies and medicine.

Besides the obvious humanitarian benefits of donation, recent research showed that usable medical supplies totaling around $765 billion contributed to annual waste. That's more than the annual budget for the Defense Department!

That same research showed that the value of those wasted supplies could cover the full medical insurance premium for about 150 million United States workers.

Not only is donation good for the environment (because it reduces the amount of usable waste), it could incentivize lower healthcare costs for individuals and businesses! Who doesn't want a lower insurance premium? But much more importantly, who doesn't want to save a life?

Now What?

The answer is pretty simple. If you have access to surplus usable supplies, find an organization near you and partner with them. See how your donation could save lives and improve the quality of life for those living in underprivileged situations.

Remember that even small donations can make a huge difference! There is so much need throughout the world and while your donation won't save everyone, it could save someone.

Don't wait! People are in need right now.

Do you need access to more affordable medical supplies? Visit our website or contact us to see how you can save on hundreds of supplies and even OTC medicines.

On to you

What questions do you have? Let us know in the comments below and we'll be happy to help!

-Marc Kaplan

CEO, Save Rite Medical


Created with a vision of helping customers in anyway possible, Save Rite Medical CEO, Marc Kaplan, created the company and has grown it to become the leading internet provider of medical supplies. Through valuable products to educational information, Save Rite Medical is your number 1 resource for medical supplies.


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