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INTERCHURCH MEDICAL ASSISTANCE DRUG/MEDICAL SUPPLY SHIPMENTS OF OVER $10 MIL

Executive Summary

INTERCHURCH MEDICAL ASSISTANCE DRUG/MEDICAL SUPPLY SHIPMENTS OF OVER $10 MIL. were made in fiscal 1984-85 ended June 30. The charitable organization notes that the shipments have been made to 55 developing countries in all parts of the world. Total contributions from drug and medical supply sources during the period were just over $11 mil. In the 25 year history of the organization, IMA "has shipped (made available) medical related commodities valued at over $200 mil.," the organization says in its annual report to be released soon. Founded in 1961, IMA is a voluntary charitable entity organized by a group of six Protestant mission boards and relief agencies. Currently, 16 mission board and relief agencies hold membership in IMA, with another 62 nonprofit agencies benefitting from IMA services. IMA has tax exempt status under the Internal Revenue Service Code. According to the organization, "IMA's basic purpose is to provide a steady flow of supplies to on-going health care programs in impoverished areas outside the United States. At the same time, IMA helps related agencies respond to crises as they develop." The organization recently made a significant shipment of drugs and medical suppliles to Mexico in response to the major earthquake that struck Mexico City last month. IMA's procurement of drugs and medical supplies comes chiefly in the form of contributions from mfrs. of pharmaceutical, medical and hospital supplies, the group notes. Supplies are kept at a warehouse located at New Windsor, Maryland, and operated by the Church of the Brethren, one of IMA's sponsoring churches. Distribution is through IMA affiliated agencies located in the country of destination for the shipment of medical supplies. At Rep. Dingell's (D-Mich.) Sept. 19 hearing on Rx drug diversion, convicted drug diverter Stanley Kowitt testified that IMA was involved in a scheme to acquire drugs from Ciba-Geigy and then divert them back to the U.S. distribution system ("The Pink Sheet" Sept. 23, p. 14). However, the conspiracy involved only the former director of IMA, according to current executive director Eugene Grubbs. The organization itself has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the IRS, Grubbs notes.
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