Competitive Landscapes - Online Pharma Start-ups

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Competitive Landscape - Pillpack, Capsule, Zipdrug, and Netmeds.

PillPack, Capsule, Zipdrug, and Netmeds are four online pharmacy services that each have their own unique offerings which help them to gain an advantage against their competitors. Of the four companies, Capsule is the only one that has been using health data in order to meet their pharmacy objectives. Each of the four companies, however, has formed its own unique product they offer to differentiate themselves from the competition and to help their customers with their prescription needs.

pillpack

PillPack is an online "full-service pharmacy" which differentiates itself from its competition by specializing in presorting medications into separate, clearly labeled doses, and delivers the medications each month to their customers' doors. As they offer a full pharmacy service, they also can supply creams and other non-prescription medical supplies. To make the service even easier, PillPack also communicates with their customers' doctors in order to manage prescription refills. There is no additional charge for shipping or using the service aside from regular prescription charges, such as the customer's monthly copay amount or products not covered by insurance. While PillPack does ship to 49 states within the United States of America, they do not ship to Hawaii.

PillPack also differentiates itself from the competition by giving additional tools that help patients' caregivers to be able to monitor prescription information and billing information for the patient. They focus on the statistic that "50% of Americans don't take their meds as prescribed," and have built their business model around that fact in order to create an easier system where the medication is divided into dose packets and clearly labeled with date and time. PillPack also utilizes a system to help maintain accuracy which includes numerous checks by the computer system and pharmacists in tandem, to ensure that the correct medication is shipped to the patient.

As PillPack does not collect data from customers aside from their feedback, it seems that they do not use health data for their pharmacy objectives.

Capsule

Capsule is an online pharmacy that fills prescriptions for its customers and delivers only to the New York City area. They also can arrange prescription refills with their clients' doctors, and offer copay with their clients' insurance companies. As with PillPack, Capsule's services are always free, and any doctor can send their patients' e-prescriptions to them to fill.

Capsule utilizes a predictive algorithm in order to keep their inventory stocked on the items their customers will need. This suggests that they are highly involved in using health data to best serve their customers, predict what they will need, and keep that inventory always available.

zipdrug

Whereas Capsule and PillPack are pharmacies, Zipdrug is not an actual pharmacy, but rather a delivery platform, and there is a $10 delivery charge for its users. They partner with insurers and employers in major cities across the United States to meet the employees' medication needs, while promising that members will pay a lower copay fee and spend less on the drugs they need. Zipdrug states that they help "health plans manage medication adherence and cost," so the focus seems to be more geared towards helping businesses with their employee health plan costs and care.

Zipdrugs offers a same day prescription delivery service, where users utilize an app to enter which pharmacy their prescription is at, as well as personal information such as payment information and insurance details. They even have kiosks at CityMD facilities around New York, where individuals can arrange their prescription deliveries before they even leave their doctor's office. The messengers who pick up and deliver the medication all go through rigorous background checks to ensure safe transport and delivery of the prescription medications.

Zipdrugs does not mention the use of health data from its clients, so it would seem they do not use this to make any ancillary sales or further their pharmacy objectives.

netmeds

Netmeds is an online pharmacy that services India. They focus on shipping drugs needed on a per treatment basis, and pharmacists at Netmeds will always look for the generic, "low-cost alternatives" of prescriptions in order to save costs for the patient; however, they will always confirm with patient and doctor that the low-cost substitution is approved before shipping it. Orders are placed online and shipped to the patient's home, and, while refills are not automatically shipped, Netmeds does send reminders so the patient knows when they need to order a refill.

Netmeds does not mention the use of health data from its clients, so it would seem they do not make use of this information in furthering their pharmacy objectives.

Conclusion

While PillPack, Zipdrug, and Netmeds do not make use of health data, Capsule is one of the online pharmacies that does make use of this data in a predictive way to further their pharmacy objectives. They are all very specialized online pharmacies that have numerous waays in which they differentiate themselves and their services and products from one another.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Competitive Landscape - Medavail, DelivercarerX, Phil, and Myra.

My complete, detailed findings are included in the attached spreadsheet. The key distinctives of each start up include: 1) Medavail uniquely uses pharmacy kiosks to provide prepackaged prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, 2) DeliverCareRX uniquely targets low income and chronically ill patients whose needs might not be met well by traditional services, 3) Phil provides a unique prescription management platform that links healthcare providers and pharmacies, 4) Myra is a prescription delivery service which operates a full-stack model and uses patient data to tailor what medication is stocked, when, and in what quantities. The spreadsheet also offers information regarding location, advantages, disadvantages, total disclosed funding, and special offers.

Methodology

In the attached spreadsheet, I detailed product differentiation under the first main column. I also described the location, advantages, and limitations of each service under individual headings. This information was gathered from company websites. I also included the total disclosed funding for each start-up as provided by CB Insights. Phil and Myra were the only companies that appeared to combine or uniquely use patient data, as detailed in the spreadsheet. The information on Myra significantly draws from the above mentioned article. Finally, because three of the services included a special offer, I mentioned those offers in the final column.
Sources
Sources