Millions of Americans take multiple medications daily, and it’s estimated that 42% of “adults over the age of 65 take five or more medications.” Keeping track of all these medications, making sure to take them at the right times, and maintaining proper doses is a huge effort for many patients and/or their caregivers. PersonalRX wants to simplify the process.
PersonalRX is a full-service delivery company for prescriptions. It synchs prescriptions so that a patient’s refills all come at one time, and it packages each medication in individual dose packets that are labelled with the patient’s name and when the drug should be taken. We sat down with founder and CEO Lawrence Margolis to learn more about how PersonalRX was formed and the market potential for the company.
Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Can you give us a brief elevator pitch for your company?
PersonalRX is a home delivery pharmacy that provides the much needed personal attention that other pharmacies simply don’t provide. We deliver medications to patients every 30 days, avoiding the waste inherent with a 90 day supply, and shipping is always free. The patient’s medication is provided in dosage packs that are labeled with the patient’s name, drug and time of day that the medication should be taken.
Our target market is the 41 million Americans who take five or more medications. We believe that these patients are entitled to better service by receiving our high-touch, no additional cost, approach.
What inspired you to take the leap and build this company?
Having been directly involved in the effects of a medication error, I knew first hand why this service is critical to ensuring healthy patient outcomes. I have also become both passionate and resolute in our determination to improve our patient’s lives. In fact, our company mission statement is “We Improve Lives.”
We understand that error free mediation dispensing and administration is critical to improved patient outcomes. We also understand that patients deserve better care and a much better patient experience. Reading our customer testimonials and speaking with our patients directly confirms that our service has a meaningful impact on people’s lives. This continues to inspire our entire team everyday.
What past experiences prepared you to start, build, and lead your company?
All of my past experiences provided a pathway to where I am today. I have spent many years understanding the fundamental value proposition for successful companies through my Wall Street experience. I have learned how investors view companies in the short and the long term. I have also been responsible for medication services for my extended family, and I understand that both patients and caregivers deserve more from their pharmacy. I think that it is rare for a founder and CEO to experience a business as complex as ours from many different perspectives. My past experiences have led me to build this company and provide an opportunity to bring a much better experience to consumers in a profitable and efficient way.
What is your vision for the future of the industry you are operating in?
The prescription medication business is very large — approximately $500 billion annually and it is growing larger every day. My vision is to capture a significant share of this enormous market. More importantly, patients need the better tools and services we provide to manage their complex medication regimens. As more and more patients live longer they require more attention and the kind of assistance we provide. We also strive to continually enhance our offerings to make it even easier for our patients.
Who is on your team and how did you come together?
Great ideas and a terrific and vast opportunity are keys to bringing successful and like minded people together. That said, a great idea is just a great idea unless you have a team that can successfully execute a plan.
Charles Oestreicher is our President and Chief Operating Officer. He brings more than 30 years of industry experience at Fortune 500 companies such as Medco Health Services, Express Scripts and CVS Health. He built and helped manage the first mail order automated pharmacy capable of dispensing 2+ million prescriptions each week. He most recently left CVS Health where he managed a team of 750 people and an $85 million annual budget. Charlie wants to leverage this industry experience to build something new and different while also improving patient healthcare. Together we aim together to bring PersonalRX to the next level.
Vaibhav Khullar, our Chief Technology Officer, is a very talented IT professional. His creativity and deep technical expertise helped turn our vision into reality. He has been on the team for nearly three years and has architected and built the company’s end-to-end systems platform. His valuable insight has allowed us to build systems that are flexible, extensible and scalable.
Our pharmacy team is exceptional as well. They execute in a flawless and efficient manner every day. They always consider the patient first and will do whatever it takes to get them all of their meds, all at the same time, and on time. From Joseph Hamedl Pharm.D, R.Ph. and Gillian Giannone Pharm.D, R.Ph.,our Pharmacist-in-charge and Director of Pharmacy Operations, to our many pharmacy technicians, and to Dana Stripling our in-house training expert, they all want to make sure that the patient is well served. Our customers can feel the sense of pride all the PersonalRX team has and how they care about them and their well-being.
Do you have any competition, if so, how do you differentiate?
There are a few companies that dispense medications in individualized dose packs labeled with the patient name, drug/dosage and time of day that the patient should be taking the medication. These dose packs eliminate the need for the patient (or the caregiver) to sort the medications into a pill box. And it’s cleaner than reopening the same bottle all the time. There is no company, however, that combines this type of medication dispensing with all of our other services.
Here a just few items that make PersonalRX unique:
We focus on the patients that are taking 5 or more medications. These are the people that we can provide the most value to.
We do all the work. We call the patient every month. We also call the patient’s doctor(s) whenever there is a change or whenever the patient needs a new prescription. Additionally, we will work with the patient’s doctor(s) to see if there are lower cost medications that are available and will save the patient (and plan) money.
We make it easy for the patient to get started on our service. Our Pharmacy technicians work with the patient to get the list of the patient’s medications and contact the appropriate pharmacy to transfer the prescriptions or call the patient’s physician(s) to get new prescriptions.
“Synching” of prescriptions. In the typical retail model, a patient taking many medications is going to the pharmacy multiple times a month, often having to wait in line to get their prescriptions. We work with the patient and their physicians, to “synch up” all of their medications so that they all have the same refill date. The patient is then shipped one box each month with all of their medications.
Dedicated pharmacy technicians. The patient is assigned a dedicated Pharmacy Technician who will call the patient at least once per month to see how they are doing and to check if there are any changes to the medication regimen. The patient also has this person’s phone number and can call them at any time.
QA team. The QA team will call the patient after each shipment is processed to ensure that it arrived at the designated address and to see if the patient has any questions or concerns.
Mobile application. We have an easy to use mobile application where the patient can view their medications (and share them with their doctor), enter prescription changes, enter allergies, check shipping status, receive medication reminders, and much more. The patient can also set up their profile to receive Rx reminders by text, phone call or a gentle nudge from Alexa.
Caregiver functionality. This tool allows the designated person(s) to act on behalf of the patient. They can view the patient’s medications and also work with the dedicated pharmacy technician as needed.
What does your business model look like?
PersonalRx’s patient-central model ensures that the patient has access to the appropriate pharmacy resources whenever they need them. We also believe that our model provides the strong foundation needed to significantly grow our business, provide the highest level of care and make it easy for our patients to take their medications.
The Pharmacy Technician is an integral member of this model as they review the patient meds every month and call their patient to see if there are any changes or questions. They also work with a Pharmacist to provide ongoing medication management. Additionally, the Pharmacy Technician works with the patient’s prescriber(s) to obtain any new prescriptions or lower cost medications.
The Caregiver is another focal point in our model.The Caregiver can administer and monitor the patient medication regimen. We have discreet functionality in our system RX2 to help the Caregiver take better care of their patients.
The RX² Mobile App features include: Medication List Review, Medication Reminders, Billing/CC Updates, Order Status, and Medication Changes.
What brought you to equity crowdfunding and how do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?
We went to equity crowdfunding in part because our service appeals to a significant part of the US population — the 12.4% (CDC Statistic) of the American population that take five or more medications and the many adult-child caregivers that take care of their parents. We also believe in the equity crowdfunding model, and we want to share our journey with the crowdfunding investors. We would also like these investors to become brand ambassadors and share the value of our services to a broader population.
We plan on using the proceeds from this offering to further expand our marketing efforts as well as product and technology offerings.
What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?
We serve a market that exceeds $500 billion annually. We also know many patients are not compliant with their medication regimen, causing many adverse drug events and an increasing number of ER visits and hospitalizations. This results in increasing health care costs and a growing dissatisfaction in our healthcare system.
We realize our target segment of this market is underserved and that patients need a better pharmacy experience. The patients also have a right to a better service and PersonalRX provides this service without any additional cost. We strongly feel that PersonalRX will assist people in successfully managing their medications and improve their lives all while helping to lower overall health care costs.
As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? have you set any future goals for the company?
We continue to monitor the market to see what is happening with other companies in the pharmacy space. We have already witnessed some consolidation, with PillPack being bought by Amazon for $1 billion, and Divvy Dose being bought by United Healthcare for $300 million. We have also seen some other companies raise funds at significant valuations — Capsule, Medley and NowRx. While we understand that we could be acquired at some point in the future, we will continue to invest in our business. We plan on increasing our marketing efforts to grow our patient population and enhancing our systems platform and pharmacy products and services so we can continue to provide flawless execution and the best possible experience for our patients.
We at KingsCrowd are excited to see where Lawrence and his team take the company. PersonalRX is currently raising on Wefunder.