ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Upstate Outpatient Pharmacy is located at 5800 Seneca Turnpike. Pharmacists there are busy dispensing medications and a new program will allow them to dispense some hope too.

“Within Syracuse in particular there’s a high poverty rate,” said Eric Balotin, the Director for Specialty Outpatient Pharmacy at Upstate Medical University. “High poverty rate for children, high poverty rate for adults. We see it. We see it every single day, patients who come to our pharmacy, come to our hospital who do not have insurance and can’t afford their medications. That’s what we’re all about.”

Medications for Hope helps provide prescriptions that treat a number of illnesses including diabetes and high blood pressure for free.

“The eligibility criteria for the program is twofold,” explained David Geloso, the Associate Director of Retail Pharmacy at Upstate Medical University. “You must be without insurance and you must be within, up to 300 percent of the national poverty level. Which is rather generous, if you think about it. A family of one can make upwards of $43,000 a year.”

You don’t have to already use this pharmacy or be a patient at Upstate. Both Geloso and Balotin welcome this program because they’ve watched patients have to make tough decisions.

“They’ve given up food, given up gas, not being able to do other things to provide for themselves and their children,” Balotin explained.

Medications for Hope is based at Upstate Outpatient Pharmacy on West Seneca Turnpike. They understand that transportation can be a challenge for some. So, they have the ability to ship the medication right to the patient.

“Just making sure that the barriers that normally inhibit them from getting their medications, we’re trying to remove all of those,” Geloso added.

The Medications for Hope program officially launches Sunday, July 24. If patients or physicians have questions they can call the pharmacy at (315) 492-5311.