|Founder(s)||Adam Kircher, George Wang, Kiah Williams|
|Area served||United States|
|Mission||connect free and low cost clinics to medicine donors|
Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine (SIRUM) is a social enterprise started by Stanford University students to decrease the amount of medicine and medical supplies that go to waste by redistributing unused, non-expired drugs to free and low cost medical clinics. The organization is founded on the fact that over $9 billion worth of usable medicine goes to waste each year in the United States, yet many clinics that provide care to underserved communities depend on medical donations.
Every year, 7,000 tons of unused medicine and medical supplies go to waste due to logistical challenges in donations. Currently, most domestic free health clinics must buy medicine or rely on unofficial donations made through the personal contacts of their volunteer doctors and nurses. Due to a lack of a coordinated effort to ensure surplus medicine and supplies reach free clinics, clinic volunteers must spend time filling out lengthy applications to multiple donors and wait for a process that can take several months to complete. As a result, clinics are not allowed the opportunity to discover matches outside of their personal and regional networks and many medicines expire before being used. According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, approximately twenty million people visit community health centers each year.
Method of operation
SIRUM created an online community of medicine donors and medical clinics that depend on donations. The nonprofit organization has established an online system where donors can input what they have and clinics can input what they need. The system then matches the donors and clinics and provides labels for shipping the medicine. The organization charges its members a nominal fee after every donation in order to remain financially sustainable without the need for federal or foundation assistance.
SIRUM evaluates its performance based on the social return on investment of three quantitative metrics:
- the amount of personnel hours saved by healthcare professionals using its service over current practices
- the money saved by treating more patients in free clinics rather than more expensive alternatives such as the emergency room
- the market value of the reduced waste in medicine and medical supplies.
SIRUM is possible because of two recent legal advancements. One is the enactment of Good Samaritan laws, such as California Senate Bill 798, that have recently passed in 39 states. These laws make it easier for certain types of donors to redistribute unused medicine without liability.
The second legal advancement is a Food and Drug Administration mandate that requires all manufactured medicine to be labeled with the National Drug Code, a consistent coding system that identifies medicine by type, strength, and amount. SIRUM uses these standardized codes to match clinic requests with donor excess. The online system allows for medicine and medical supplies to be entered and requested using the trade name, active ingredient, NDC labeler code, NDC product code, or manufacturer. With all information contained within its database, SIRUM is able to match the needs of its member clinics.
Adam Kircher founded SIRUM in 2005. His experience with relief efforts in post-tsunami Batam, Indonesia alerted him to difficulties in redistributing supplies, including medicine. Adam was inspired to use the internet to create a trusted community for redistributing medicine, and he assembled a group of Stanford students to help achieve his aims. In 2009, SIRUM became incorporated and launched its pilot program in the San Francisco Bay Area. With its online network functional, the organization has begun establishing a network of clinics and donors.
- California HealthCare Foundation
- Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
- Polo Ralph Lauren
- Success Institute
- Full Circle Fund
- Philanthropic Ventures Foundation
- "Medical Bridges Fact Sheet". Medical Bridges. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
- "Donations in Short Supply". Materials Management in Healthcare. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
- "Recession Brings More Patients to Community Health Centers". National Association of Community Health Centers. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
- ""Who We Are" on". SIRUM. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- ""FAQ" on". SIRUM. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- ""State Prescription Drug Return, Reuse and Recycling Laws" on". National Conference of State Legislature. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- ""Opportunity" on". SIRUM. Retrieved 2009-10-19.[dead link]
- ""Our Solution" on". SIRUM. Retrieved 2009-10-19.[dead link]
- SIRUM - Official web site.