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News reports are full of stories about rising costs of prescription drugs these days. Last month Southcentral Foundation reported that prices overall increased by about 10-11% annually. Medications that were once affordable are procured by drug companies and have skyrocketed in cost. In some cases, producers are bought by investors who then drive up cost dramatically, taking advantage of the critical need for that medication and the fact that no one else produces it.

Have you ever wondered what to do with medicine you no longer need or is expired? Pharmacies in the Alaska Native Medical Center Hospital, Anchorage Native Primary Care Center, and Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center have recently installed Medsafe medication collection bins. The bins are for all legally held medications including over-the-counter, prescription drugs, and controlled substances (schedules II-V). Unused and expired medication can be harmful to those we care about as well as the environment and wildlife.

I want you to know how much I appreciate the hospital and Southcentral Foundation. In July, I had surgery and the best care one could possibly have.

Are you or your family members planning to attend the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention? The 2018 convention will be held in the heart of downtown Anchorage at the Dena’ina Convention and Civic Center on October 18 – 20. The theme for this year is Innovation in the past, present, and future.

Your Care, Your Choices, the advanced care planning initiative created by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Southcentral Foundation, was awarded an Indian Health Services Director’s Award for 2017. A team of 39 professionals, with representatives from the medical as well as business side of both ANTHC and SCF, developed this unique program.