PillPack raises $4M for mail, web-based pharmacy

By Jonah Comstock
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PillPack_ShipmentManchester, New Hampshire-based virtual pharmacy PillPack raised $4 million from Atlas Venture and Founder Collective, the company announced today. The company raised the money back in July 2013, and have already used much of it to build its Manchester headquarters. However, PillPack opted to time the announcement with its commercial launch, which happens today in 31 states.

"We've been shipping to a small group of friends and family as well as folks that have found us online," CEO TJ Parker told MobiHealthNews. "[We've been] working out any issues with shipping, making sure our web tools are working appropriately. We are in a place where we are ready to offer our service to a much broader slice of the population."

PillPack offers online and by-mail pharmacy services for a $20 monthly charge. After a doctor e-prescribes or faxes PillPack a prescription, the company sends a customer all of his or her medications for the next 14 days, prepackaged by dose. Customers are also billed every two weeks in one comprehensive charge.

Using web tools, customers can monitor their shipments and add over the counter medications and vitamins to their orders. They can also see how much their meds are costing them, and how much their insurance is contributing. PillPack customers also have 24-7 access to their pharmacist by phone if they have any concerns with their medication.

"If you put yourself into the shoes of someone taking seven or eight prescriptions every single month, they're having to go to the pharmacy three or four times a month -- because of the way their refills are synced up, they can't get them all on the same day," said Parker. "There's typically a line, so if you don't want to hold anyone else you're hesitant to ask the pharmacist any questions ... Then you get home with all these bottles, you have to put them in a pillbox or whatever mechanism you're using to manage your meds. So it becomes this arduous confusing complicated system for people who are taking meds. This takes all the complexity and makes it fairly simple."

Parker said his philosophy is that reinventing the whole pharmacy system is ultimately going to be more effective toward improving health outcomes than trying to target just one facet, like medication adherence.

"Through school I was following things GlowCaps, you know the companies that are going after the adherence problem as an individual thing," he said. "So I really got this place where I felt like the only way to have the impact they wanted to make was to really own the end to end process, because so much of it was contingent on so many things. I think there are going to be opportunities to plug solutions in the the right spot, but in order to do that you have to have control over the end to end experience.