Teva Pharmaceuticals, collaborators team up to donate behavioral health meds to free clinics, pharmacies

Editor's Note: This story was updated on June 1, 2023, to reflect a clarification by Teva that its portfolio of generic medicines is valued at $17 million not on an annual basis. 

Building on an existing collaboration to support mental health, two nonprofits and Teva Pharmaceuticals are expanding donations of medications for anxiety and depression to seven new states.

Launched last summer with humanitarian organization Direct Relief and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, the program is aimed at expanding medication access for medically underserved patients. The newest states to be added include Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

“As the need for mental health support surges, access to care for people living with anxiety and depression is more pressing than ever,” Thomas Tighe, CEO and president of Direct Relief, said in an announcement. More than 5.5 million adults with a mental illness are uninsured in the U.S., with racial minorities disproportionately affected by depression and anxiety as a result of COVID-19

Also as part of the program, Teva has committed $2 million in grant funding to the clinics. It is making a portfolio of generic medicines, valued at more than $17 million, available to free and charitable clinics and pharmacies in Direct Relief’s network. 

The program was initially piloted in Florida, New Jersey and California. With the latest expansion, its total potential reach is more than 650,000 uninsured patients through more than 400 clinics. The latest states were chosen based on the program’s ability to maximize patient impact, determined by assessing unmet needs and the presence of a strong network of partner clinics.

The donations have increased access to medications for mental health, “generating both progress and a sense of hope,” Fred Bauermeister, executive director at Free Clinic of Simi Valley, in California, said in a statement.

"We continue to face a mental health crisis across the U.S. and those directly impacted deserve access to treatment, regardless of background or economic status," Sven Dethlefs, Ph.D., executive vice president of North America Commercial at Teva, said in the press release. Teva is committed to health equity and plans to continue bringing its expertise and resources to support mental health, he added.