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Community Spotlight: Better Health Pharmacy

A sea of round white pills surround a red pill shaped like a heart.

Save Money on Medications

If you or someone you know can't afford medications, Better Health Pharmacy (BHP) could be a great place to check out.

BHP is a FREE pharmacy, available from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. It is the first and only dedicated drug donation pharmacy in California.

About BHP

BHP discovered that many people stop taking medications because of cost, leading to poor health. This increases healthcare costs due to emergency room visits. In an effort to fix this problem, BHP does the following:

  • Provides medications to patients with valid prescriptions at no cost (no co-pays).
  • Receives unused, unopened, and unexpired medications from licensed healthcare facilities and provides these at no cost to their patients who have a valid prescription.
  • Aims to increase medication access for all and serves patients who cannot afford their medications.

How You Can Use Their Service

  • No proof of citizenship, residency, income, or age is required.
  • Serves all age groups.
  • Interpretive language services are available upon request.
  • Patients must provide valid prescriptions and some form of identification.
    • Call BPH at 408-794-0564 for additional information on acceptable ID.
  • Hours:
    • Open: Tuesdays – Fridays, 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM; Saturdays, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
    • Closed: Sundays, Mondays, and Holidays
  • Address: 725 E. Santa Clara St. 202, San Jose, CA 95112 (Located next to Valley Health Center)
  • Additional info:

What Is and Is NOT Available

  • Only licensed healthcare facilities donate medications.
  • Due to the random nature of donations, the availability of specific medications cannot be guaranteed.
  • You can always call 408-794-0564 during open hours to make sure that the medication you need is there.
  • Santa Clara County Better Health Pharmacy Inventory list is periodically updated.
  • BHP does not dispense the following:
    • medications requiring drug monitoring (e.g. Warfarin),
    • controlled substances (i.e. narcotics), and
    • lifestyle medications (e.g. hair loss, erectile dysfunction, weight loss, etc.).

Ways to Get Involved

  • Volunteer: BHP always welcomes volunteers. Volunteers can gain experience in working in a pharmacy and make a difference in the community. There is a commitment requirement of 240 hours in 3–4 hour shifts. For more details on how to volunteer and what opportunities are available, contact BHP at 408-794-0564.
  • No Donations: BPH does not accept donations of medications from individuals. For a listing of sites in San José and throughout Santa Clara County where you can safely dispose of your expired or unwanted medicines, review MED-Project (Medication Education & Disposal).

Health Resources from SJPL

Even if BHP is not right for you, San José Public Library offers the following to help you make informed decisions about your health (no library card required):

Available with Your Library Card Membership

Here are some items you can check out with your free library card or review at the library:

book cover: Are Your Meds Making You Sick?: A Pharmacist's Guide to Avoiding Dangerous Drug Interactions, Reactions and Side-effects, by Robert Steven Gold. book cover: Complete Guide to Prescription & Nonprescription Drugs, by H. Winter Griffith, M.D. ; revised and updated by  Dr. Stephen W. Moore. book cover: PDR Consumer Guide to Prescription Drugs, edited by J. Harris Fleming.

About Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight is a new blog series from San José Public Library. This series highlights local services and resources that are available to our community for free.

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