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

Medical factory storage warehouse. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

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.

Faith traditions

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:

 charity  year end  source for data:
 GHS 8/31/17 https://taskforce.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/2016_GHS_990.pdf
 TFGHS 8/31/17 https://taskforce.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/2016_TFGH_990.pdf
 DF 6/30/18 https://www.directrelief.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/063018-Direct-Relief-Public-Disclosure-Copy.pdf
 Americares 6/30/18 https://www.americares.org/globalassets/publications/financial/990s/2018-americares-foundation-irs-990.pdf
 CMMB 9/30/18 https://cmmb.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/2018-Form-990-CMMB.pdf
 MAP 9/30/18 https://www.map.org/hubfs/2017%20MAP%20INTL%20Public%20Copy.pdf
 FFP 12/31/18 https://www.foodforthepoor.org/about-us/financial-info/files/2018-990.PDF
 Citihope 6/30/17 https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/b5539a_79fbaa73f5374a7c85b26731d6bd6f3d.pdf
 OBI 3/31/18 https://www.ob.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/OBI-FY18-990.pdf
 HtoH 12/31/17 http://rct.doj.ca.gov/Verification/Web/Download.aspx?saveas=384718.pdf&document_id=09027b8f803581cc
 UNICEFUSA 6/30/18 https://www.unicefusa.org/sites/default/files/2017%20Form%20990%20USF.pdf
 UMRF 12/31/18 https://umrelief.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/UMR-2018-Form-990-Signed.pdf
 CAM 12/31/18 http://rct.doj.ca.gov/Verification/Web/Download.aspx?saveas=CAM+Form+990+2018+.pdf&document_id=09027b8f8039b90a
 BBF 12/31/18 https://brothersbrother.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/990-W_Signature-Redacted-compressed.pdf
 Kingsway 12/31/17 https://www.kingswaycharities.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2017_Form_990_Public.pdf
 ICF 12/30/17 http://www.icfaid.org/user-files/documents/FINAL990.pdf
 PH 12/31/17 https://www.projecthope.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/FY2017-990-Public-Inspection-Copy-1.pdf
 FTC 6/30/18 http://www.feedthechildren.org/assets/documents/fy18-form-990.pdf
 IR 12/31/16 http://rct.doj.ca.gov/Verification/Web/Download.aspx?saveas=244279.pdf&document_id=09027b8f8031204b
 GCH 6/30/16 https://www.givingchildrenhope.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IRS-990-15-16-scanned.pdf
 MTI 9/30/18 https://www.medicalteams.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/FY18-Medical-Teams-Form-990-Public-Signed.pdf

 

References for charities with less than $20 million of donated medicine and supplies:

 charity  year end  source for data:
 COH 12/31/17 https://www.convoyofhope.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2017-COH-Form-990-Public-Disclosure-Copy.pdf
 Medshare 6/30/18 http://rct.doj.ca.gov/Verification/Web/Download.aspx?saveas=472904.pdf&document_id=09027b8f80382fed
 Christa 6/30/18 https://worldconcern.org/assets/FY18-CRISTA-990-PD-Signed.pdf
 ASC 4/30/18 http://rct.doj.ca.gov/Verification/Web/Download.aspx?saveas=421385.pdf&document_id=09027b8f80365683
 IA 6/30/18 http://www.internationalaid.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/IRS-Form-990-for-Public-Inspection.pdf
 SAMS 12/31/17 https://www.sams-usa.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/SAMSF-2017-12-AUDIT-Final-FS.pdf
 WV 9/30/18 https://www.worldvision.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/WVUS-FY18-Form-990-Public-Copy-Signed.pdf
 StC 12/31/18 https://www.ob.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/OBI-FY18-990.pdf
 WHI 12/31/17 https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/annual-reports-wp/2017/2017-Form-990-PD.pdf
 FFH 9/30/18 https://www.fh.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2017-FHUS-Public-990.pdf
 CFI 6/30/18 https://www.ob.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/OBI-FY18-990.pdf
 Samaritan 12/31/18 https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.samaritanspurse.org/pdfs/2018-Samaritans-Purse-Form-990-PUBLIC-DISCLOSURE.pdf
 IRT 6/30/18 https://drive.google.com/open?id=18iwGNBowqKoUPRDEQ6nXvTezWi36TJ51
 IMC 6/30/18 https://cdn1.internationalmedicalcorps.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/IMC-2017-Form-990.pdf
 IRC 9/30/18 https://www.rescue.org/irc-document/irc-fy-2018-form-990
 RI 12/31/17 https://www.ri.org//content/uploads/2019/08/relief-international-form-990-2017.pdf
 HKI 6/30/18 https://www.hki.org/sites/default/files/attach/2019/04/HKI%20FY18%20FINAL%20FORM%20990_PUBLIC%20DISCLOSURE%20COPY.pdf
 Zakat 6/30/18 https://www.zakat.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2017-990-IL-July-2017-June-2018.pdf

 

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