New industries that were once thought to be stodgy and unlikely to change have seen significant movement and improvement over the last few years.
From refrigerators like Phononic's Evolve to vending machines like Chowbotics — and yes, glasses prescriptions like Warby Parker — entrepreneurs are constantly working towards ways to make technological enhancements to help streamline processes and bring convenience to consumers.
One of the latest old school industries to see a transformation over the past few years is the prescription drug refill industry. Waiting in the neighborhood drugstore for thirty minutes or so after a twenty minute drive to pick up prescriptions can be an annoying and draining process. San Francisco-based startup company Phil is looking to hop into the game in order to change the way people receive and refill medications.
Half of all Americans are taking prescription pills, which totals about 119 million people in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control's latest federal survey. As such, it may have been inevitable that a company like Phil would arise to take advantage of this lucrative industry by helping to make ordering and receiving prescriptions a much easier process.
Following a quick sign up on Phil's website, users can then order prescriptions from anywhere and have those medications delivered straight to their door. Phil makes all of this possible through both its online portal and its partner pharmacies. In addition to this, Phil also provides additional services that include handling interactions with health insurance companies and automating refills.
Phil's CEO and founder, Deepak Thomas, commented on the value added by his company: "Our customers appreciate the convenience of having their monthly medications delivered for free. However, the real reason they love us is because we do the heavy lifting and coordinating with insurance and doctors on their behalf."
Currently, Phil has over 5,000 doctors and 40+ pharmacy partners in its prescription network. The company's projected goal is to service the prescription needs of 90 percent of the United States by the end of June 2017, and it is well on its way with its $7.5 million Series A funding round this past fall.
Prescription delivery may be the new frontier for medicine as news has recently spread that Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos has shared that it may be moving into Phil's space as a competitor. With Americans ordering over four billion prescriptions each year, it may be hard for the eCommerce giant to stay out of the $400 billion industry. As we reported earlier this month, this venture into prescriptions for Amazon comes on the heels of the hiring of its new general manager.
Pembroke Consulting's president, Adam Fein, offered up his thoughts on what Amazon entering the space could do for the online prescription industry. He said, "Prescription drugs is such a big market, and Amazon, I think, looks at every big market and figures out if there's a place for them to play. I think they would challenge the economics of the retail pharmacy industry."
Currently, Phil's competitors in this space include Good Rx, Express Scripts and CVS Health — all of which have operated in this space for some time. As more people look for ways to get cheaper prescription drugs, we may see more prescription delivery companies popping up.