PALO ALTO, Calif. and ATLANTA, June 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, SIRUM — a not for profit tech company turning surplus prescription medicine into a lifeline and key resource for low-income Americans — announced its participation in the 2020 The Audacious Project cohort, a funding collaborative housed at TED which convenes social entrepreneurs to support bold solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges.
With Audacious’ support over the next five years, SIRUM will get $ 772 million worth of medication to one million people, utilizing an innovative platform to build a highly scalable solution that will go on to reach 70% of the 10 million adults currently left out of the healthcare system.
“The Audacious Project recognizes the progress we’ve made on our goal to make life-saving medications affordable to everyone in America. It isn’t right that more people die from not taking medications they need than car accidents and opioid overdoses combined, and that cost is a significant factor. We’ve used technology to create the largest network for redistribution of unused medicine in the country, and we’re gearing up to take it even further, to make almost a billion dollars worth of medicine available to the people within the next five years,” said Kiah Williams, Co-founder of SIRUM.
“We are reimaging what medicine access can — and should — look like at a national scale. We’re getting people the medicine they need to not just survive, but to thrive, and putting medications that would otherwise be incinerated to good use, improving millions of lives in the process. We envision a world where medicine recycling is the default, rather than the exception, and this partnership gets us one step closer to that reality.”
With healthcare system costs reaching nearly 18% GDP and some estimates suggesting insurance premiums could rise almost 40% next year due to the additional strain of the COVID-19 pandemic on the healthcare system –it’s clear that our existing model will not be sustainable and we need new solutions that can provide access and reduce costs. SIRUM’s work is a crucial piece of the conversation around tackling healthcare costs and access, particularly for lower income families.
SIRUM is already working to change that model by leveraging existing Good Samaritan laws and policies that allow for the donation of safe, unexpired medication. SIRUM then redistributes these medications to families whose high medication costs make it impossible to afford. The Audacious Project provides an opportunity for SIRUM to grow their supply of donated medicines, expand access to twelve total states, and optimize their platform and technology for sustainability and scale across the country.
“As the nation’s largest medicine redistributor, SIRUM is uniquely positioned to make access to essential medications an affordable reality for all Americans,” said Anna Verghese, Executive Director of The Audacious Project at TED. “It is unconscionable to think that, every day, millions of Americans are forced to choose between their health and their ability to otherwise survive and support their families. SIRUM has the expertise and patented technologies necessary to right this egregious wrong, by scaling its innovative solution further and faster — and we are so proud to stand behind their team in this effort.”
Almost $ 10 billion of perfectly good, unexpired medications go to waste every year, yet the average American household spends $ 3,000 per year on medications and almost half of all consumers report skipping prescriptions due to cost — a dangerous trend that is magnified in low-income, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
In a post-COVID-19 world — where states are anticipating lost tax revenues and underserved communities continue to worry about how they will pay for healthcare — SIRUM invites city, county and state-level leaders in the nearly 40 states where Good Samaritan laws have already been passed, to leverage SIRUM’s model to address existing and future challenges making affordable medication accessible for everyone.
“If we can recycle a can, why not medicine? Why can’t we use tech for good to solve a massive injustice that exists today?” Williams continued, “Millions of people are faced with this false choice, between medications they need and basic necessities like groceries and rent. That’s not the world we want to live in, and not the future we all deserve..”
With many calling affordable medicine and healthcare one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century, SIRUM has identified a way to stop wasting precious resources via a workable, successful, and easily scalable business model that can be replicated in all 50 states — saving medicine to save lives.
SIRUM was founded at Stanford University by Adam Kircher, George Wang, PhD, and Kiah Williams. SIRUM drives the future of healthcare by connecting people with surplus medications. 50 million Americans don’t take their prescribed medication because they can’t afford it. With soaring copays, deductibles, and insurance costs, many people are making impossible choices between medications, food and housing, gas to get to work, and more. SIRUM enables pharmacies and health facilities to donate their unused medicine, and their system is built to ensure compliance and provide full liability protection.
SIRUM directly accepts medicine from manufacturers, pharmacies, wholesalers, and health facilities. Capitalizing on more than $ 10B in wasted medicine every year, SIRUM places simple “recycling” boxes in their facilities, arranges the collection of unopened, unexpired, non-controlled medicine, and redistributes them to those in need.
SIRUM has already provided nearly $ 70 million worth of prescription medication, enough for over 150,000 patients to get the care they deserve — saving medicine to save lives.
Contact: Sunshine Sachs, [email protected]