St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy Hits a Milestone

Agency aims to help clients avoid choosing between medicine and food

At St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy, a young man living out of his car could access his insulin prescription, and a young girl could make it through high school. 

They received free medications and aren’t the only ones.  

Earlier this year, the pharmacy passed a significant milestone: 200,000 free prescriptions provided to disadvantaged people in North Texas since its opening in 2018. 

Pharmacy director Carlos Irula is happy with the strides the pharmacy is making because he is aware of how much it helps. 

According to the 2021 U.S. Census Bureau, 18% of Texans are uninsured, leaving those needing medication vulnerable.

People often struggle to choose between buying medication or their next meal, which in turn will cause their health to worsen, Irula said.

St. Vincent de Paul’s most distributed medications fall under the diabetic category.

“Our most expensive insulin that we are able to provide is 90 days of Trulicity, which is a once-a-week injectable. And that value at the counter is about $2,500,” Irula said. “So, if someone were to be uninsured and walk into your CVS, they would have to pay $2,500 for a 90-day supply, but we’re providing it for free.” 

Luis Gonzalez, Society of St. Vincent de Paul CEO, applauds pharmacy team members for their admirable enthusiasm for client care. 

“That infectious optimism and joy that they have in what they’re doing, it really just permeates everything that they’re doing, and people walk away with a really much deeper appreciation for the work that’s going on there,” he said. 

The society supports staff morale in various ways: starting the day with prayer, allowing for an hour of regroup time, and offering New York-style bagels at least once a month. 

“They’ve fallen in love with New York-style bagels at a place that I found, so I’ve always promised them I’ll bring bagels in, so that helps with morale,” Gonzalez said. 

Overall, he says the work is rewarding. 

“It’s really a privilege and honor to be able to share the story and invite others to become a part of it to get involved, to help support it, to get the word out,” he said. “We’re literally saving lives by providing medication for people with chronic illnesses.”

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