August 18, 2015

All your medications, straight to your doorstep.

Uber is killing New York taxisSites like Kayak have mostly replaced travel agents. And remember your local bookstore? Yeah, Amazon may have destroyed it.

As you’ve heard thousands of times before, (sometimes from us!) technology is disrupting staid industries. But some industries are more difficult to disrupt than others, especially when those industries come with bundles of red tape and mountains of regulations. 

TJ Parker, co-founder of an online pharmacy called PillPack, knows this all too well. 

“From a regulatory standpoint, you literally have to get a license in every single state that you’re delivering medications to. So for us, we hold something in excess of 50 licenses in order to operate as a business.”

Healthcare, with its myriad laws and regulations, is a particularly difficult industry to disrupt. (Not to say that healthcare regulations are a bad thing, just look at the case of Thalidomide and the FDA).

The changes that Parker and PillPack are making seem fairly simple. Their pharmacists send you your drugs in the mail, pre-packaged and pre-sorted, with dates and instructions. PillPack manages your refills, and they’ve even created an app that reminds you of your medications.

Though moving a pharmacy online could mean less personalization, Parker views PillPack as way to make the pharmacy experience better for everyone - a 21st-century version of the friendly, neighborhood drugstore of the mid 20th century.

He believes that sending out pre-sorted pills can make people less error prone, and says that online pharmacists can be responsive and helpful to their clients.

An PillPack is growing, having recently raised $50 million. Part of that expansion, though, seems counterintuitive: they're experimenting with opening storefronts.

innovation hub, Sci and Tech, medicine, ihub, health

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