Sempre Health uses discounts to encourage timely prescription refills

By Jonah Comstock
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Sempre Health, a San Francisco-based company that uses monetary incentives to encourage timely prescription refills, officially launched last week with $2.5 million in funding from Social Capital Partnership, quietly raised last year.

Using SMS, Sempre works with pharmacy benefit managers to inform patients about discounts on their prescriptions — and then those discounts change to incentivize healthy behaviors.

“What we’ve developed is an end-to-end dynamic pricing solution,” CEO Anurati Mathur told MobiHealthNews. “… For example, a patient might get a text that says ‘if you pick up your prescription this week you pay just $20, if you wait until next week it’ll go back up to $30.’ And then we have a commercial relationship with the pharmacy that allows them to make sure that price is available for that patient so it ends up being very seamless.”

In addition to discounts that diminish the longer patients wait to fill, there are also rewards for consistently refilling. Sempre works with payers and manufacturers and uses an algorithm to craft discounts that will incentivize patients without, ultimately, costing payers anything.

“We are basically building a two-sided network of manufacturers and payers, in a nutshell,” Mathur said. “…We have payers on the other hand who recognize the value in these medications and agree that if a patient is prescribed them they ought to be able to afford them. But maybe necessarily, people don’t want to pay for those discounts. So imagine a number of manufacturers and a number of payers and a payer goes through and checks the box next to the medications where they want to offer discounts to their patients, we facilitate the flow of funds from our manufacturer partners to do that. And so it’s totally free for payers.”

So far, Sempre has conducted one clinical trial and will be publishing results soon. They’ve also signed their first customer, a large regional health plan in Pennsylvania.

“Patients who are committed to making healthy choices improve their own outcomes and bring significant savings to the system, yet they rarely get any financial benefit for doing the right thing. What kind of healthy behaviors might we have if it weren't expensive to have them?” Mathur said in a statement. “With Sempre, your behavior is currency, and it counts towards the health expenses you face every day.”