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October 06, 2015

Nonprofit Harvests Surplus Drugs to Serve Poor Patients

A nonprofit hatched five years ago by a trio of young Stanford University graduates to improve low-income patients' access to costly prescriptions has distributed $4.3 million worth of drugs by tapping surplus inventories from medical facilities, The Wall Street Journal writes. Sirum (Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine) has supplied more than 80,000 patients, making it the country's largest network of drug donors and recipients.

The organization, described by its founders as a "Match.com for unused medicine," directs drugs from licensed entities such as pharmacies and nursing homes to county health systems, free clinics, and other providers, under Good Samaritan laws enacted in most states that authorize institutional donations of surplus medicines.

"We make sure the right medicines get to the right clinics,” said Sirum co-founder Kiah Williams, a former Clinton Foundation employee. Philanthropies like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California HealthCare Foundation have supported the nonprofit, which was based until last month at Stanford's Haas Center for Public Service.