Ellen Pompeo Cofounded BETR Remedies To Support Charitable Pharmacies, Closing The Gap In Healthcare

by 24britishtvNov. 18, 2022, 8 p.m. 12
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Charitable pharmacies are the hidden secret for families unable to afford necessary medications. Ellen Pompeo, along with her cofounders, Livio Bisterzo and Jennifer Hoffman, launched BETR Remedies to assist in mending the broken healthcare system. The company offers over-the-counter pharmaceutical products.

Each year, $10 billion worth of medication is destroyed or sent to landfills, while one-in-four people go without life-saving prescriptions. Hospitals alone throw out $3 billion in remedies. As of September, BETR’s contributions facilitated the donation of 75,302 prescription medications, resulting in an estimated patient savings of over $3.38 million.

Pompeo, known for her role as Meredith Grey on ABC’s long-standing hit drama Grey’s Anatomy, takes her role as chief impact officer seriously. Witnessing firsthand the disparities in the pharmaceutical industry through stories her fans have shared with her, she is bringing awareness to the problem. BETR’s mission is to close the gap between unused medication and those struggling with systemic poverty. For every box of BETR Remedies sold, the company donates funds to a charitable pharmacy, which covers the cost of someone’s medications for one month.

“I’ve become acutely aware over the 20 years of playing a doctor that there’s a lot of inequities in the health care system,” Pompeo expresses. “There’s no shortage of inequities in health care. And this was a way for us to address people’s access to medication. That is a giant task to try to solve because you can’t go up against pharmaceutical companies; they are too powerful. The lobbyists are too powerful. How can you possibly tackle that problem? There are so many people in this country that really need help. They can’t afford their medication. They don’t have access to it.

My two partners [Bisterzo and Hoffman] came up with the idea for this company to create an over-the-counter brand with a giveback component... How do you address pharmaceutical access inequities in that space specifically? It’s really hard. It’s such a big problem that nobody talks about it. People have a tendency to keep it to themselves because that’s embarrassing to say, ‘I need this diabetes medication. I can’t afford it.’ We’ve recently had some small strides with legislature, but it’s clearly not enough.”

Pompeo’s professional acting career started after being discovered by an agent while bartending in New York City. She landed a few roles before being cast on the hit medical show.

Her role catapulted her to fame. Over the past 20 years, Meredith Grey has captured the attention of fans worldwide. However, Pompeo took a step back this season from the role appearing in only eight episodes. This upcoming February, her farewell episode will air. Although she will remain a producer on the show, her focus will be on other productions and BETR.

“The character has been unbelievable to me,” she smiles. “I have an incredible life. The show is in 200 countries and means the world to so many people. I’m happy to be Meredith Grey forever. I have plenty of opportunities to do other things now. And I have nothing but gratitude for the character and the show.”

Pompeo’s fame has provided her with a platform to share and engage in ideas that matter. The more she and her cofounders learned about the inequalities in healthcare, the more they wanted to be a part of the solution. They started with the simple question, “What can we do?”

They broke down what everyone buys: pain relievers, allergy relief, digestive supplements and sleeping aids; it had to be over-the-counter products, and all of the active ingredients in its medicines are FDA-authorized. Additionally, BETR products are exclusively at Walmart both in-store and online.

The cofounders knew they couldn’t compete with big pharmaceutical companies, so they looked at a giveback component to their business model. Through research, they met the cofounder of SIRUM, Kiah Williams. Incubated at Stanford University, SIRUM leverages the power of technology to save medicine to save lives. BETR partnered with the non-profit to help support the redistribution of medication, both over-the-counter and prescription, to charitable pharmacies around the country.

“It’s not an easy fix,” Pompeo states. “It’s a hard road to go up against these massive brand names. But how do I want to use my time? And how do I want to use my platform? With fame and celebrity, we have the ability to be influential. How do I want to use that influence? I could do something that’s probably easier. What’s most meaningful to me about my time on Grey’s and my time playing this character is people have really opened up to me and shared personal private stories with me over the years... There are a lot of people in this country who need help. And there’s zero corporate responsibility. These giant corporations don’t care at all. So our aim is to be a corporation that cares and provides a service that helps another service provide to people.”

As Pompeo continues to transition in her career and help expand BETR, she focuses on the following essential steps:
• Focus on how you can positively impact the world; use your influence to be a beacon of light for others.
• Surround yourself with others who uplift your mission and complement your strengths.
• Continuously learn and open yourself up to new opportunities.

“I always make my life about the work,” Pompeo concludes. “So many actors say to me, ‘How have you been doing that show for so long?’ The truth is the fans. The fans—their response to me, their reaction to me when they see me... Everybody has a personal story. Those personal stories inspired me to keep doing the show and telling the stories. It’s the same with BETR. People’s personal stories have inspired me to keep this going and to keep doing whatever I have to do to try to make a dent in a broken system.”

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