New York City-based digital pharmacy Capsule, which until recently only served the city and New York’s Westchester County, hastened its Minnesota and Illinois launches in reaction to shelter-at-home ordinances. Capsule CEO Eric Kinariwala said they had already planned to expand into these areas, but they gladly pushed forward the timeline to be able to help more Americans during the pandemic. As some states are experiencing dramatic spikes in COVID-19 cases on the heels of reopening businesses, Capsule makes it easier for consumers to fill prescriptions from their homes.
“We founded Capsule five years ago, to make getting medications easier, faster, and more convenient than ever before,” Kinariwala said. “We wanted to expand the same service we offer in the Bronx to help offer more communities the ability to get their medications without having to leave the house.”
The 5-year-old company has raised approximately $250 million to date, $200 million of which came in last fall. Kinariwala’s inspiration for the startup came after waiting in line over an hour for a prescription that ended up being out of stock. When he realized this was a fairly common experience, he wondered what he could do to prevent it from happening again.
Capsule isn’t simply a drug delivery service. While it offers free, same-day delivery, the company has also taken pains to develop an intuitive, user-friendly app. One of the features of the app provides consumers with the ability to directly text or call a pharmacist at any time of day, so their questions can be answered immediately, taking the guesswork out of dosages and drug interactions.
The platform is also private and secure, and it works with insurance providers to help users compare medications, so they will always get the best price. There’s transparency from beginning to end, ensuring customers know the full price of their purchases with no hidden fees popping up at checkout. Additionally, patients’ copays will always stay the same.
In an industry where 50% of prescriptions go unfilled, physicians are also finding it easier to work with pharmacies and their patients via Capsule. The company’s customers are 50% more likely to adhere to their medications as prescribed, which will likely lower readmission rates, which cost the healthcare system $50 billion last year alone.