Kiah Williams

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Williams is tackling one of the most unjust absurdities in American health care. At any given time, 10 million people in the U.S. go without the medications they need—and roughly 10,000 die every month because of it. Yet every year more than $10 billion worth of unused pharmaceuticals across the health system—from surplus stock with manufacturers and wholesalers to leftovers at drug stores and nursing homes—go to waste. The Stanford grad started Palo Alto-based SIRUM with her two cofounders in 2009 to balance the equation, building the tech platforms and partnerships necessary to redistribute surplus meds (all unused and unexpired) to people—uninsured, underinsured, or just not able to afford the cost of prescription drugs in America—who need them. So far, SIRUM, a nonprofit which partners with health networks in seven states, has supplied more than 850,000 prescriptions of 500 different meds (for a $2 monthly prescription). As one of this year’s recipients of funding from TED’s prestigious Audacious Project, SIRUM is working to expand its reach to 1 million people over the next five years.

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