Digital Pharmacy, Telehealth Double Down on Access and Affordability

Pharmacy, Telehealth Need Access, Affordability

Medicine is making moves as trends in the pharmacy and telehealth spaces show an enthusiastic embrace of new digital tools and partnerships to expand care delivery and affordability at an inflationary time when prescription drug and healthcare costs are rising.

This year kicked off with price increases on numerous prescription drugs.

“Drug companies raised prices on hundreds of medications on Jan. 1, with most prices up 5% on average,” WebMD reported in January, adding: “The beginning of the new year is the most popular time for drug companies to increase prices.”

While drug makers promise that rebates and discounts will level out these increases over time, WebMD added,“list prices still are what uninsured people pay, and deductibles and coinsurance rates are often based on a drug’s list price.”

The GoodRx acquisition of vitaCare Prescription Services announced Monday (March 7) is indicative of how technology players are seeking ways to bring more price controls to consumers while strengthening GoodRx as a more full-spectrum provider.

Read more: GoodRX Pays $150M for Health Platform vitaCare

Citing data that only half of the 500 million brand prescriptions written each year are ever filled, the company said in a statement, “With vitaCare, GoodRx believes it will have more tools to help facilitate the prescription process from start to finish, ensuring patients have a clear path to access and afford the brand-name therapies they need.”

Connecting to Care

In late January, pharmacy benefits HealthTech firm Capital Rx went deeper into the connected economy, partnering with the Independa healthcare, becoming the discount prescription card provider for the LG television-based remote virtual care platform.

“Capital Rx continues to effectively disrupt the prescription drug payments model, helping American consumers save millions in medication costs,” said Independa Founder and CEO Kian Saneii in a press release. “On the heels of our landmark partnership with LG and the expansion of our Health Hub ecosystem into the connected TV environment, we are proud to join forces with Capital Rx and offer our users access to the best prescription drug discount card available in the market today.”

Launched at the 2022 CES show, the Independa Health Hub Ecosystem of Healthy Offerings “provides consumers with bi-directional video communication that allows users to connect with healthcare providers, wellness services, family and friends in the comfort of their homes through their LG televisions,” according to a separate press release.

For its part, Capital Rx is getting a reputation as a pharmacy benefits management (PBM) disruptor that uses a Clearinghouse Model to itemize drug unit costs.

“Capital Rx uses NADAC prices rather than proprietary rebates off of average wholesale price or wholesale acquisition cost,” Forbes reported in February. “While Capital Rx earns a flat fee per prescription claim processed, it does not engage in secretive rebating or spread pricing. The latter is a controversial practice in which PBMs reimburse the pharmacy less than the amounts health plans or employers reimburse PBMs, and PBMs pocket the difference.”

See also: ‘Micro-Fulfillment’ Model Brings Same-Hour Delivery to Pharmacies

Digital pharmacy news isn’t all about human healthcare in 2022. Pets need platforms too.

Pet health company Vetsource launched its new Pharmacy Dashboard Monday (March 7).

“Vetsource’s new Pharmacy Dashboard, available to prescription management customers, reveals valuable data and key insights into comprehensive pharmacy sales and compliance, both in-hospital and from the Vetsource Home Delivery platform,” a press release stated. “The dashboard provides a complete picture of pharmacy performance, allowing practices to identify revenue opportunities and implement strategies to improve patient care.”

See also: New Approaches to Discounts, Fees, Digital Experience Reshaping Pharmacy Sector