Every year in the United States, $5 billion (yes, billion with a ‘b’!) of unused and unexpired prescription drugs are destroyed. At the same time, 50 million Americans don’t refill their prescriptions because of the cost. A group of Stanford graduates wanted to find a way to easily connect the surplus and the need. In 2009, Kiah Williams, Adam Kircher, and George Wang created SIRUM (Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine), a non-profit dedicated to deliver unused medicine to people in need.
SIRUM works in 4 easy steps. SIRUM first gets companies and hospitals to stop destroying unused medicine. This is fairly easy because the companies often have to spend a large amount of money to have the drugs destroyed. Instead, donating the drugs is free and less of a hassle. The company or hospital then enters the surplus via SIRUM’s technology. The company packs up the unused medicine and adds a pre-paid shipping label. SIRUM picks up the package the next day and distributes it to those in need. The company or hospital is then able to track the package door-to-door.
This entire transaction is a win-win for everyone involved! It is much easier and cheaper for hospitals or companies to donate the surplus medicine than to destroy it. And people who need affordable or free medication can easily get it. Like cofounder Kiah Williams said, SIRUM is “like the Match.com for unused drugs”. SIRUM was able to meet the needs of two different groups, with no downside to either group. To learn more about SIRUM, click here.