# How big is the world of donated medicine? Updated estimate.

This post updates the previous estimate of the volume of donated medicine for the relief & development community of the nonprofit world.

There are a few charities receiving big volumes of medicine donated by the pharmaceutical companies. Those charities then get all those meds distributed to charity clinics and hospitals around the world. That is incredible work which is improving the lives of millions upon millions of poor people around the world.

Following is an estimate of the size of that sector, with subtotal of charities with over \$20 million of donated medicine and supplies, under \$20 million, and zero reported meds:

 total Total Meds & meds / count revenue GIK supplies Tot rev > \$20M meds 9,565 8,371 7,720 81% 20 < \$20M meds 4,386 958 142 3% 18 subtotal 13,951 9,329 7,862 56% 38 zero meds 1,289 49 – 0% 2 total 15,240 9,378 7,862 52% 40

For context, total donations to the charitable sector were a reported \$410 billion in 2017.

Methodology

I pulled together a list of all the charities I could find that have donated meds. I looked up their most recent 990 on their website. For a few of the charities there wasn’t a 990 visible so I pulled the most recent 990 from the California Registry of Charitable Trusts. For one charity the financial statements were used.

Data tabulated below is:

• total revenue from 990 Part I line 12,
• non-cash donations from 990 Part VIII line 1g (referred to as gifts-in-kind or GIK), and
• disclosed amount of drugs and medical supplies on Schedule M line 20.

Amounts are converted to millions, then rounded.

Last column in the table is the dollar amount of drugs & medical supplies divided by total revenue.

Subtotals are drawn for charities with over and under \$20 million of donated meds.

Caution on interpreting the numbers

We need to be careful of interpreting the amount of donated drugs and medical supplies for at least three reasons.

First, there are charities I missed. My guess is those not yet listed will be at the lower end of this list, not in range of a hundred million or more.

Second, the total of \$7.5B includes donated supplies, such as bandages, sutures, gloves, surgical tools, and all the other consumables you would find in a clinic or operating room. I have no insight about what portion might be medical supplies.

Third, an unknown portion of this is double counted. Under current accounting rules the charity receiving the donated meds can recognize revenue. If that charity is not able to fully distribute the meds to their network of contacts, the charity will pass the meds to another R&D entity who can then send the materials out to their network. Under current rules, the charity who ultimately distributes the meds to the end user can also recognize revenue.  If the meds make another stop, the intermediaries are not suppose to book revenue.

The volume of meds legitimately recorded twice is not quantified. Identifying that volume of meds would be quite difficult to determine, if not impossible. I will make a completely wild guess (subject to revision at any time) that the amount counted twice is far less than one-tenth of the total or less.

A large portion (I’m guessing the vast majority) of the R&D organizations listed below are part of the Christian faith tradition which is one component of the religious community. Most of those are from the Protestant faith community. I am only aware of one charity on the list which is part of the Roman Catholic faith community, but there are likely others.

A large portion of those charities from the Christian community would consider themselves to be part of the evangelical community.

I can identify four charities from the Muslim faith tradition. I don’t know if there are other charities in that faith tradition not on the list which may have large volumes of donated meds.

Data

Charities with over \$20 million of donated medicine and supplies:

 Total Drugs & Meds / Not-for-profit organization revenue GIK supplies total rev —- —- —- —- —- Globlal Health Solutions 2,619 2,619 2,619 100% Task Force for GHS 86 – – Direct Relief 1,235 1,132 1,131 92% Americares Foundation 1,045 978 973 93% Catholic Medical Mission Board 735 704 704 96% MAP International 575 564 563 98% Food for the Poor 942 802 536 57% Citihope 253 252 252 100% Operation Blessing International 276 246 195 71% Heart to Heart International 138 126 126 91% US Fund for UNICEF 564 118 116 21% United Mission for Relief & Development 84 77 77 92% Christian Aid Minisitries 141 89 72 51% Brother’s Brother Foundation 96 92 67 70% Kingsway chairities 61 60 60 98% International Children’s Fund 52 50 50 96% Project Hope 101 44 45 45% Feed the Children 370 317 40 11% Islamic Relief 105 41 40 38% Giving Children Hope-latest f/s on web site 34 33 32 94% Medical Teams International 53 27 22 42% — — — subtotal 9,565 8,371 7,720 81% count 20

Charities with less than \$20 million of donated medicine and supplies:

 Total Drugs & Meds / Not-for-profit organization revenue GIK supplies total rev —- —- —- —- —- Convoy of Hope 175 117 20 11% Medshare International 21 16 15 71% Christa Ministries 124 16 15 12% Aid for starving children 14 13 13 93% International Aid Inc 32 28 12 38% Syrian American Medical Society (per F/S) 52 19 10 19% World Vision 1,055 281 10 1% Save the Children 830 133 9 1% World Hope International 20 9 9 45% Food for the Hungry 126 20 9 7% Child Fund International 203 12 6 3% Samaritan’s Purse 700 247 6 1% International Relief Teams 39 36 4 10% International Medical Corps 130 5 2 2% International Rescue committee 730 6 2 0% Relief International 43 – – 0% Helen Keller International 83 – – 0% Zakat Foundation of America 9 – – 0% —- —- —- —- subtotal 4,386 958 142 3% count 18 —- —- —- —- estimated total of GIK 13,951 9,329 7,862 56% count 38

Charities with zero reported drugs and supplies on Schedule M:

 Total Drugs & Meds / Not-for-profit organization revenue GIK supplies total rev —- —- —- —- —- CARE USA 402 46 – 0% Compassion International 887 3 0% —- —- —- —- subtotal 1,289 49 – 0% count 2

Sources for data

Note: Links were working as of the day they were accumulated. The links may not be working or may have changed by the time readers look for the information.

References for charities with over \$20 million of donated medicine and supplies: