The digital revolution is making it possible to reimagine all sorts of broken systems, and we all know few need more help than the health care industry.
One of the problems with the health care system in the U.S. is affordable access to prescription medication, and a California-based company called Sirum has an interesting approach to solving it.
Sirum is redistributing the medicine that people are prescribed but never use to those who need it but can't afford it—sort of like a "Match.com for unused medicine," Sirum cofounder Kiah Williams told Fast Company.
Why is there a surplus of Rx drugs? For one, elderly people might receive prescriptions and pass away, leaving behind medication that would go to waste. Or, people who no longer need their prescribed medication can choose to donate it.
Sirum, which stands for Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine, collects the surplus of drugs and, leveraging its online community, connects them to health clinics where they are offered free or low-cost.
According to the company's website, one in three uninsured people—some 12 million people—can't take the medication they need because they can't afford it. At the same time, the huge amount of pharmaceutical waste pollutes the environment and throws billions of dollars down the drain.
Bridging the gap between need and supply is a great example of how the World Wide Web can be an instrument of change, and this is certainly an audacious application of that. You can see how to get involved here, or check out the video to learn more.
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