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In 2003, Dr. Bruce Wolf – an allergist in Nashville, TN - began the arduous task of trying to understand the ways in which brand-named sample medication are used and disposed.  In conducting a review of his own practice’s brand sample usage, he discovered that over 30% of his sample medication went unused prior to expiration.  Dr. Wolf spent the next three years working with the local medical community to donate their unused branded samples to free clinics and pharmacies.

In 2007, having been inspired by the work of Dr. Wolf, a team from Saint Thomas Health drafted a business model that would aggregate medication from all over the country and distribute them to clinics and pharmacies serving the poor and uninsured throughout the United States.  Built around the guidance found in the Prescription Drug Marketing Act and through the development of a unique and fully licensed supply chain process, the Dispensary of Hope was able to achieve the following milestones with the Physician Sample Donation Program:

  • Collected and distributed tens of millions of dollars worth of branded sample pharmaceuticals for those most in need,
  • Built a physician practice donor network, which at one time included over 1300 physician practices,
  • Created a state-wide and inter-regional network of dispensing sites,
  • Built a proprietary software system to manage inventory, track patient access and ensure pharmaceutical pedigree,
  • Established a Strategic Council comprised of local, regional and national participants,
  • Delivered 20:1 return on investment to the community as well as alleviated significant bad debt levels for community hospitals.

After inspiring and influencing the Dispensary of Hope – its mission, progress, and strategic direction – Dr. Bruce Wolf has gone on to found Hope Beyond Hope - a non-profit organization founded in 2009 and dedicated to finding innovative solutions to maximize health care delivery for the less fortunate in the United States and the world by minimizing and redirecting waste of usable medication in our society.

Today, the Dispensary of Hope (a subsidiary of Ascension) accepts its inventory directly from the generosity of industry, with manufacturers and distributors now taking the lead in serving the uninsured, low income American as Dispensary of Hope’s main suppliers.  However, we are thankful for our early years, and our founding.