To meet heightened need for critical medicines, the nonprofit Briut Shava Lakol has:
- Allocated the equivalent of half a routine year’s stock within the first month of war
- Faced a 180% surge in demand for non-prescription drugs
- Played an outsized role in helping displaced individuals retrieve and fill prescriptions lost or forgotten in the chaos of evacuation
- Drugs include everything from over-the-counter pain relievers to medications for chronic illnesses including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes
Jerusalem, November XX, 2023 – Briut Shava Lakol (“Equal Health for All”), a nationwide pro-bono community pharmacy and affiliate of Yad Sarah, announced today that it has distributed over ILS 650,000 (approx. $175,000) in medications free of charge to individuals in need across Israel since the outbreak of the war following Hamas’ hostile attacks on October 7.
The organization’s activities represent part of Yad Sarah’s broad activities to fill gaps unaccounted for by the national healthcare system, whether for emergency war relief or in routine times.
With 100,000-200,000 people in Israel internally displaced due to the war, many individuals were unable to pack critical medicines or their prescriptions amid the chaos and confusion of evacuation from their homes.
Since the war, Briut Shava Lakol has played an outsized role in helping individuals retrieve and fill their prescriptions, even when original prescriptions are unavailable. The organization helps patients navigate the prescription retrieval process as well as coordinate requests via channels including Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), doctors and social workers to ensure that individuals receive the necessary medications promptly.
While the State determines eligibility for free and subsidized medications through HMOs, there remains a significant portion of the population that is left without assistance due to financial or bureaucratic challenges. The organization’s primary objective is to promote health equity, ensuring that everyone, irrespective of financial means, has access to essential medications – both prescription and over-the-counter. Thereby, it aims to eliminate the difficult choice many individuals face between purchasing medicine or basic essentials, like food items.
Half a Year’s Stock Administered within a Month
In the first month of war alone, Briut Shava Lakol distributed the equivalent of over half an average year’s inventory of medications. The organization fields multiple daily requests for life-dependent medicines for chronic and acute illnesses including heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes.
The organization has also witnessed a 180% increase in the need for non-prescription drugs amid the surge in those displaced, injured, and facing financial challenges amid the war.
Briut Shava Lakol relies on a dedicated team of volunteer pharmacists – many of whom are pulling double shifts to meet unprecedented wartime demand – and delivery drivers available around the clock. They pack, issue and dispatch medications to any address across the country within two days, including to combat areas and evacuee convergence centers.
“Many people are navigating confusing and harrowing situations as they leave their homes, uncertain of when they will return. This is where we can help to reduce some stress for evacuated citizens,” said Moshe Cohen, CEO of Yad Sarah. “Despite the challenges, we are committed to providing essential medications to those in need, showcasing the power of collective compassion during difficult times.”
The organization’s inventory comes from unexpired and unused or otherwise sealed medications donated to Yad Sarah branches around Israel; certain items are occasionally acquired from manufacturers. Donated medications go through rigorous testing and examination to guarantee their safety and efficacy. Subsequently, licensed pharmacy volunteers administer the medications in accordance with valid prescriptions when needed for controlled medications.
Briut Shava Lakol emphasizes the urgent need for additional prescription donations and monetary support to continue its vital mission, particularly as Israel faces uncertainty around a long and drawn out war.
About Yad Sarah:
Yad Sarah, the leading volunteer-staffed organization in Israel, provides a vital array of compassionate health and home care services for people of all ages.
Founded in 1976, Yad Sarah has 126 branches throughout Israel staffed by more than 7,000 volunteers. Although the organization is best known for its extensive lending service for medical equipment, its volunteers also drive its wheelchair-accessible vans, reach out to the homebound, advocate for the elderly at risk for abuse, provide in-home geriatric dental care, staff its play center, and more. Nearly every family in Israel has been impacted or helped by Yad Sarah. Yad Sarah saves Israel’s healthcare system over NIS 5.5 billion ($1.5 billion USD) each year through its home hospitalization equipment lending services. For more information, please visit: https://yadsarah.org/
About Briut Shava Lakol
Briut Shava Lakol is a nonprofit community pharmacy that promotes access to critical medicines at no cost for individuals across Israel; it is an affiliate of Yad Sarah. The organization’s primary objective is to promote health equity, ensuring that everyone, irrespective of financial means, has access to essential medications – both prescription and over-the-counter. In accordance with valid prescriptions, the organization collects and administers unused, unexpired and appropriately sealed medications that are donated to Yad Sarah branches around the country. For more information, in Hebrew, please visit: https://www.briutshava.org/