By James Forrest
The best businesses are often those that take complex problems or challenges and distill them into simple solutions. I believe this to be the case with Dan Pollard and the team at myDrugCosts, a service that empowers employers and individuals to partner in optimizing health care choices and driving down costs of prescription medications.
Launched in the Research Triangle area at the end of 2010, myDrugCosts is a cloud-based software platform that takes data from multiple sources—health plans, pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, and more—and packages options that enable better decision-making for patients when considering the prescription drug costs. myDrugCosts delivers drug cost transparency and comparison tools; for example, a patient can see not only a typical cost of a branded option, but they may also see discount card opportunities that reduce the retail price, as well as generic options that may be drastically reduced in price.
Dan Pollard is the founder and chief executive officer at myDrugCosts. After completing his doctorate in healthcare informatics at Duke University in 1999, Dan spent over a decade managing solutions at leading RTP companies in the electronic health records space, assisting medical practitioners in decision support and quality management. The more he worked in EHR, the more he believed that patients needed similar tools to drive better decision-making from the patient side of the healthcare equation.
Enter myDrugCosts, a solution that empowers the patient to be a better partner in decision-making on many of the choices people must make to improve their health and quality of life in a space where care and prescriptions get more costly year after year. Dan had noticed a real pain point in the patient/physician relationship—prescription decisions are made with neither patients nor physicians informed about the cost of prescription drugs. While the internet certainly has made the patient population more educated with regard to general health information, relevant cost information remains confusing, inaccessible and time consuming. To make informed decisions on just one set of prescription options, patients would have to find and visit numerous websites and then organize the information on their own, still only hoping that they’d seen all the information they needed to analyze along the way.
Dan and his team have focused the company’s business development on large employers, seeing this strategy as the best way to have the highest impact on the most people in the quickest manner. The company offers myDrugCosts in a platform that’s optimized for use on any internet-capable device—personal computer, tablet, or smartphone—in free and premium versions. myDrugCosts won a prestigious national award for “Best Consumer App” at the 2012 Health Datapalooza in Washington, DC. Always keeping his customers—employers and their employees—in mind, Dan says that the greatest benefit of myDrugCosts is that the service so neatly aligns the goals of both groups. Both save money, while never asking the employee to sacrifice or trade on their health outcomes for money. People can be more engaged in their healthcare and have more money in their pockets by using the tool.
Existing pharmacy benefit management solutions haven’t solved the cost problem. Dan quotes a 2011 Medco (now Express Scripts) statement that this leading pharmacy benefit manager processes nearly 500,000 prescriptions every day that still have lower-cost alternatives. As patients have greater awareness on cost, as well as delivery options such as 90-day supplies versus 30-day supplies, patients can have more straightforward conversations with their health care providers, injecting cost as a concern to be taken into consideration. As the healthcare space continues to grow in complexity, many of the players in the market will benefit from myDrugCosts. Dan and his team have announced major partnerships, one with the State Employees Association of North Carolina, as well as Rx n Go, a prescription medication savings program that uses myDrugCosts to educate consumers on multiple free options on maintenance medications for common diseases like diabetes. Most recently, myDrugCosts and Danike announced that PocketPharmacist for iOS, an award winning medical app, has integrated with myDrugCosts to help its users make cost-informed decisions about prescription drugs.
We have enjoyed working with Dan and the great group of people at myDrugCosts here at the Forrest Firm. It’s great to see what happens when people focus on relieving real pain for others through an innovative product or service. This company is also a great example of how the Triangle organically generates great companies through its leading universities, as well as the formidable cluster of companies that make up an entire spectrum of healthcare, from pharma/biotech to EHR, CROs, and centers of excellence in multiple therapeutic areas.