Navigating the medication maze.
GoodRx started with a simple mission: to help Americans find prescription medicines they could afford. Founder Doug Hirsch, a former tech executive, was inspired by his own experience—“It’s so broken. You’re afraid to go and purchase because you have no idea what you’re going to pay”—and the conviction that he wasn’t alone. His goal wasn’t to take on the drug pricing industrial complex, merely to empower consumers with information on what things cost, where and how to save. That wasn’t easy; it took Hirsch and his team nearly a year to unearth that basic info—“no one wants you to understand this stuff”—and launch even a primitive site. Along the way, many people told him, the effort was a waste of time; they were sure the Affordable Care Act and universal insurance would make such information obsolete.
Eight years later, GoodRx’s website allow consumers to comparison shop and find discounts for prescription drugs at more than 70,000 pharmacies nationwide. GoodRx makes money by selling its technology and ads, as well as through referral fees and a subscription service (its main website and app, with comparative pricing and discounts are free, though). It says it has helped 100 MILLION Americans save more than $10 billion on prescription drugs. That helps make a dent in the nation’s $300 billion drug adherence problem—i.e. Americans not taking the meds they’re prescribed.
About 50% of US physicians advise their patients consult GoodRx. You may think GoodRx sits across enemy lines from pharma companies, pharmacy chains, pharmacy benefit managers, and insurers, but the company works with all of the above to help consumers find drugs they can afford. Hirsch says he fields a lot of calls from politicians, looking to understand the costs of healthcare, too. “The first step to fixing our broken healthcare system,” Hirsch says, “is understanding it.”
Health Care: Pharmacy and Other Services
Doug Hirsch/Trevor Bezdek
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