Timing, as it has long been said, is everything but sometimes timing is dictated by what nobody could plan for – one example being a global pandemic. When ScriptDrop, a very fast growing startup prescription delivery company based in Columbus, Ohio, was launched in 2017 with Amanda Epp as CEO, demand for its service was very promising.
Epp already had an executive track record in prescription delivery at CoverMyMeds, a health care tech platform that connected physicians and pharmacists to complete prior authorization and insurance coverage determination forms for prescriptions. The company was bought byMcKesson in 2017.
Epp and her team launched ScriptDrop with improved technology and better cybersecurity measures. They raised $3 million on an initial round of funding and thought they were ready for anything. Then came the covid-19 pandemic. Delivery volume grew 363 percent between February and April 2020 compared with the same period the previous year. Revenue for 2020 was up 220 percent. The company completed a successful $15 million Series A round in October 2020.
We asked Amanda Epp about the wild ride ScriptDrop has had and the prospects for prescription delivery now that the pandemic is less acute and more people are venturing from their houses.
ScriptDrop launched prior to the pandemic. Tell us about how the pandemic closures increased demand for prescription delivery, and both the opportunity and challenges created by the new circumstances.
Our pharmacy network expanded 320% year over year in 2020 and our delivery volume increased 170% in the same time period. When the pandemic first hit, we were in a unique position to help patients because we enabled them to keep their preferred local pharmacy and not be limited to a digital pharmacy (think Amazon) or mail order. With nation-wide stay at home orders, patients suddenly were in need of delivery options outside of just food, including prescriptions. This support was one of critical necessity – to deliver patients their needed medications without needing to face the risk of visiting a pharmacy in-person – and the whole ScriptDrop team took this on as a personal mission to support the needs of patients nationwide.
You had already been in the prescription delivery business before ScriptDrop. What persuaded you, before anybody had heard of Covid-19 or thought about lockdowns, that demand for prescription delivery would grow?
With the advent of so many new phone apps such as GoodRx where patients can literally see where their prescription is most cost-effective, we realized patients were beginning to take charge of their own healthcare and wanted more control. Delivery fits seamlessly into that plan, especially when paired with something like telehealth, which has grown astronomically in the last few years. Additionally, America’s Baby Boomer population is aging and as one of the largest demographics in the country, it was clear that they were going to start looking for better and easier avenues for their care, prescription delivery included.
If a restaurant sends the wrong food out with the delivery person they simply send another meal. Is it safe to say that the margin of error for delivering prescription drugs is much smaller? What are the particular considerations ScriptDrop needs to take into account?
First and foremost, ScriptDrop is a healthcare company, and we understand the complex regulations and needs of this ecosystem. We’ve become a trusted partner to some of the leading pharmacy chains in the nation because of that knowledge. We carefully vet every courier and driver company that we partner with to ensure they are in compliance with HIPAA regulations and they understand the impact of following the chain of custody. ScriptDrop technology follows the prescription through the entire delivery cycle: from when it is placed in the hands of the courier to when it is dropped off at the door.
My understanding is that ScriptDrop has significantly simplified the process of arranging for delivery of a prescription. Can you explain how, and explain the competitive advantage?
ScriptDrop makes the process simple and seamless for both patients and pharmacies. When a pharmacy partners with ScriptDrop, they can schedule a delivery for the patient via the click of a button in their pharmacy management system. Nothing is required from the patient to coordinate that delivery, only their confirmation that they’d like their prescription delivered. ScriptDrop handles the rest. This allows the patient to get their prescription safely delivered to their door while also keeping their preferred pharmacy. It also impacts many other issues the healthcare industry is facing: decreasing a pharmacy’s return to stock rate (which is essentially the rate of filled prescriptions that are never picked up by the patient and the pharmacy often eats that cost), reduces administrative costs, increases medication adherence and reduces hospital readmissions.
Will widespread reopening of the economy hurt the prescription delivery business? If not, what factors favor the business model?
We do not believe it will. Before the pandemic our team found that patients really weren’t aware of prescription delivery. The pandemic only accelerated discovery of this service, simply out of necessity. During the pandemic, “prescription delivery” was one of the most searched phrases on Google. Patients are now aware a solution exists and can be used in many different ways: after a telehealth appointment, after being discharged from a hospital, or even if they just don’t have the time to swing by the pharmacy. This view is only substantiated by our continued growth: our volume has continued to increase even as the pandemic winds down.