By Chris Welsch
After Thanasis Vratimos’s grandfather died, the family was left with a large amount of unused medicines. Thanasis knew the medications were expensive, and he wanted them to go to someone who needed them.
But he found a frustrating lack of ways to donate them. Though 30% of Greeks1 live below the poverty line and cannot afford medicine, more than €1 billion worth of medicine2 goes to waste each year in Greece, usually just thrown away. “A lot of these things are toxic,” Thanasis says, “and they end up polluting waterways.”
With a friend, he founded GIVMED in March 2016 with two main goals: to make medicine available to those who need it and to reduce waste.
The two friends, trained as computer engineers, developed a software system that makes donating medicines easy and that keeps track of where those donations are needed. An app, website and hotline link the donations to social pharmacies, which distribute the medicines. Four years after being founded, GIVMED has five employees and has facilitated the redistribution of 90 000 boxes of medicine with a value of more than €900 000.