New program has doctor sending patients to the 'Farmacy'

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It's not a foreign disease that is currently killing Americans by the thousands, it's a preventable one.

Doctors write 4 billion prescriptions for patients each year that add up to $320 billion, and 85 percent of those are for dangerous, but often preventable diet-related diseases.

There's a new program in town that is saving lives through a different kind of medicine.

When Memorial Hermann bariatric surgeon Garth Davis looked at the numbers, even he was stunned.

"A lot of times what we're doing in healthcare isn't health care, it's sick care. It's treating people who are sick," Davis said.

His new patients were taking an average of five prescriptions each.

"They've got heart disease, they've got diabetes, they've high cholesterol, and I'm meanwhile reading the research, and while there's a drug that can help with high cholesterol, eating a plant-based diet filled with fruits and vegetables works even better than the medication," Davis said.

"So, I got this idea, what if I actually write a prescription and have them go to a Farmacy with an F, rather than the regular pharmacy with the p-h. We could solve our healthcare crisis just by eating more fruits and vegetables."

Davis received a grant from Memorial Hermann and partnered with Kristina Carillo-Bucaram of the Rawfully Organic Co-op to create a box of produce for patients.

"It comes with $25 of a week's worth of fruits and vegetables. And it comes with a prescription that they have to get from their doctor. Each person can get $10 off, if they have a prescription," Carillo-Bucaram said.

Each Farmacy Box will include:
- Four apples
- Four oranges
- Two pears
- One bunch bananas
- Berry of the week
- One head Romaine lettuce
- One bunch celery
- One bag carrots
- Spinach or broccoli
- Tomatoes

Elaina Priesman plans to volunteer at the Farmacy stand after losing more than 100 pounds once she started seeing Dr. Davis.

"I've gotten off diabetes medication and high cholesterol medication, and I feel amazing," Priesman.

The Farmacy is open on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital. You must order ahead online, and with a prescription you get $10 off.

For more on the Farmacy program, click here.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.