Thursday, April 14, 2016

Prescription Compliance at the ePharma Summit 2016

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Last month, I attended the Institute for International Research’s (IIR) ePharma Summit in
New York City. Managing communications for prescription discount card provider Watertree Health and having a background in technology and business, I was most interested in the disruptive health technology showcase and innovations challenge. One company’s presentation stood out in particular because of its mission to make prescription compliance easier: on-demand prescription delivery platform, Zipdrug, which has been featured in TechCrunchDrug Store News and Crains New York.

The ePharma Summit logo
IIR invited Zipdrug to present at the three-day summit after the company announced its partnership with CityMD, making CityMD a one-stop-shop for medical visits.

After ePharma 2016 ended, I followed up with Todd Weisbrot, Head of Business Development at Zipdrug to speak about Zipdrug and health care on a broad scale. Todd is a health care industry expert with over a decade of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device space. Over the years, he has represented companies such as Medtronic Spinal and Biologics, and Bradley Pharmaceuticals in business development and sales efforts. He now leads business development for Zipdrug in New York, NY.

How big is the prescription compliance problem? 

70% of the U.S. population takes prescription medication; but due to medication non-adherence because of various reasons, there are 125,000 deaths annually because people don’t take or don’t properly take medications. Medication non-adherence costs our health care system an estimated $300B per year. Zipdrug’s delivery service aims to remedy this preventable situation. Zipdrug aims to eliminate the pharmacy visit altogether, by automating prescription ordering through an app, and then deploying a drug-screened, background-checked, HIPAA-trained messenger to pick up and deliver prescriptions to the patient's home. 

How did you get the idea for Zipdrug?

Zipdrug is the brain child of CEO, Stu Libby. Like many people, Stu had always experienced frustration waiting for medications at the pharmacy. But in January 2015 when his father was discharged from a hospital without his prescriptions, Stu discovered the need for a business like Zipdrug – one that can save lives by making it easier to get medications.

Why is Zipdrug innovative?

We’re living in an on-demand economy. Zipdrug fits into that mold by offering a service that delivers prescriptions in under an hour, but it serves more than a convenience to consumers – it helps them adhere to their medication. We’ve heard countless stories of consumers getting a prescription and forgetting about it, Zipdrug takes this out of the equation.

What are some other disruptions you’re seeing in health care?

Disruption starts with the leading health care companies across systems, payers and manufacturers. Their willingness to partner with start-ups is what is seeding disruptive innovations. Start-ups used to die waiting for their pilot partners, today more and more bigger health care players are open to new ideas from new companies and that’s where innovation is coming from. 

Why are conferences like ePharma important?

The future innovators are in that room, the incumbents who are not interested in this type of content will lose their leading positions in coming years to the start-ups and more established companies who come to ePharma to explore how new partnerships will shape the future of health care. These conferences are priceless opportunities to find the market leaders of today and tomorrow who want to push the envelope and innovate. 

What was most valuable to you in attending the ePharma Summit?

After our CEO's on stage presentation, the Zipdrug team was approached by companies that were not on our radar that wanted to explore possible partnership opportunities. As Head of Business Development, ePharma was gold!

Are you excited about telemedicine?

We are excited to partner with telemedicine providers to provide a true, fully inclusive health care experience at home - with Zipdrug, a patient can be seen, treated and receive their prescriptions without the need to ever leave their home or office. That’s exciting. 

Why have health care companies been so slow in engaging patients?

Risk mitigation and innovation don't mix nicely in health care. The innovators within the leading health care institutions have a difficult job in selling through interventions that will drive more patient engagement. Thankfully it seems to be changing. 

Lisa Chau currently works in digital strategy and business development for free Prescription Discount Card provider, Watertree Health. Her previous experience in health care includes biotechnology logistics management for Living Independently Group, and special projects in education for the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in conjunction with affiliated teaching hospital, White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Read more about Watertree Health and connect on Twitter: WatertreeHealth

Lisa's work has been published in ForbesUS News & World Report as well as Huffington Post. She is an adjunct lecturer for the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch, and has been a featured guest on NPR.
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