PillPack just got a $50 million infusion—could it become the Amazon of pharmacies?
- PillPack Inc., an online pharmacy, is looking to disrupt the pharmacy inustry with a new drug-packaging idea—dividing up customers' pills by the time and date they should be taken.
- The company received $50 million from the venture capital firm, Charles River Ventures (CRV), in its third round of funding.
- PillPack is looking to find a space in an industry dominated by pharmacy mega-chains, such as CVS and Walgreen's.
Since opening its doors in January 2013 (yes, PillPack does have physical pharmacy-only locations), PillPack has delivered more than 1 million orders to its customers based on online orders. In addition, the company currently has 75 employees and operates in 47 states.
The business model is unique not only because of its online service, which many pharmacies provide, but because of the way the drugs are packaged and delivered. Prescription pills, vitamins, and OTC drugs are packaged into daily doses, with precise instructions, and delivered via UPS every other week. By using robotic sorting, PillPack is able to have its staff focus on interactions with health providers.
PillPack faces the challenge of trying to break into an industry in which being large is an advantage—scale allows chains such as CVS to negotiate better prices. However CRV has made the point that insurers like competition and that innovation in this space is sorely needed.