NO ONE WANTS TO LOWER DRUG PRICES

Remember that scene in the Big Short when Dr. Burry (played by Christian Bale) was screaming because the big banks wouldn’t properly value his short position before they too took short positions? Fast forward to today and everyone (journalists, politicians, etc) like to complain about drug prices… but it’s just a talking point.

You see, no one really WANTS to lower drug prices.

The movie the Big Short came out several months after I initially began moving pieces on the chess board to create MailMyPrescriptions.com. But when I was at the theater and the outspoken Mark Balm (played by Steve Carrell) uttered these lines:

The banks have given us 25% interest rates on credit cards. They have screwed us on student loans that we can never get out from under. Then this guy walks into my office and says those same banks got greedy, they lost track of the market, and I can profit off of their stupidity? Fuck yeah, I want him to be right.

I found myself looking around the theater thinking… Are there any other disgruntled millennial’s in here who figured out that generic drug prices are a ripoff? That the entire system was rigged. And did they know what I knew… how to undercut it, that the system would never see it coming, and did they have the idea to flip that solution to Amazon or Google or some other E-com disruptor?

6-months prior to the release date I had bought MailMyPrescriptions.com for $7 on GoDaddy. It’s been 3-years… we ship prescriptions every day… saving people thousands. But you don’t know who we are. Because no one really WANTS to lower drug prices.

Since I founded MailMyPrescriptions.com I have personally reached out by email, by tweet, by snail mail, to countless news outlets if they even mention “drug prices” in an article, which I track via Google alerts. Typically 5-10 a day actually. I have written to well over 100, maybe even 200, media outlets. No response. We have hired PR firms. We have hired in-house media staff. Yet constantly ignored, or at best responded to by asking “where’s the story?”… we have no blockbuster investors. No Corporate drama. No $100-million dollar valuations. We just grind. You see lowering drug prices isn’t sexy. It’s kind of mundane actually.

I think it’s kind of cool though. We’ve got robots, automation, technology, and nifty green packaging. But when I DM’ed Christina Farr, offering to fly her out to our facility to see that it’s real. To show her the books. To show her the secret sauce on how we disrupt drug prices… crickets

I’ve reached out to the writer of the annual ConsumerReports on drug prices, only to be left off two years in a row… even though we have the lowest prices of any pharmacy in the world (yes… the WORLD), highest customer rating of any online pharmacy, and a viral following on social media… just plug the hashtag “#searchcallsave” into your Facebook search bar.

Here… I’ll do it for you:

Told you we have nifty green boxes…

…and great savings. But, It’s not just news outlets who want to ignore our solution.

Over the last 3-years we’ve attempted to secure contracts with big employer insurance brokers only to find out they are on the take of PBM’s, and often times their employer clients, getting rebates on their drug spend… incentives that keep prices high for their employees and end users. You’re just finding this out, right? You see… no one really WANTS to lower drug prices.

Over the last 3-years, we’ve reached out to all of the big discount card providers… who are also reliant on PBM’s for commissions, and surprise… they have no desire to offer the lowest prices to consumers, probably out of fear of impacting those healthy commissions. Following those guys lately? Some are even suing their ex-PBM partners… fighting over those very commissions. You see… no one really WANTS to lower drug prices.

Sure, retail pharmacies could offer lower drug prices today, if they wanted to. Sure, they’d lose all their insurance contracts most likely, but they complain they don’t make any money anyway, right? You see maybe our supply chain is better, but they too could choose not to mark drugs up egregiously. But really they just want the PBM’s to share a cut of those fat profits. And I’m sure if we become the “Amazon of pharmacy” they will compare us to Walmart of the 90’s by saying we’re putting Mom and pops out of business… but you see… no one really WANTS to lower drug prices.

And unfortunately outside of an Administration violating the economic principals that this democracy was founded on (i.e. the “Free Market”) by controlling prices for a commodity, the governments’ hands are pretty much tied. Sure, they can eliminate some of these obviously conflicted incentive structures… but I fear these players have a plan B, and that is almost certainly just to lower or eliminate discounts off generic list prices… and again… RAISE DRUG PRICES for end-users.

But hey…we have a solution… we don’t egregiously mark them up in the first place! But you see… no one really WANTS to lower drug prices.

It’s not like “no one knows who we are” either. Outside of those hundreds of outreach attempts… I’ve actually spoken with multiple Wall Street research analysts as a Subject Matter Expert. I’ve participated in symposiums and on panels, all closed to the media, of course. I literally predicted Amazon would enter the pharmacy market this year.

And all of that… only to be left off of analyst reports, for example covering Express Scripts. A recent one mentioned the possible impact Amazon’s acquisition of Pill Pack could have on a stock, like say Express Scripts, and goes something along the lines of “if they compete on price” the effect on Express Scripts stock price as a stand-alone PBM could be a price erosion greater than the $17bn single-day market-wide loss in value simply caused by the acquisition of Pill Pack.

That’s only one PBM! WE ARE ALREADY COMPETING ON PRICES! But you see… no one really WANTS to lower drug prices!

Even Carl Icahn is skeptical of the Cigna acquisition of ESI, allegedly out of fear of Amazon competing on price… even though Pill Pack is still technically (currently) reliant on ESI for a 3rd of their business! But still, a valid concern, because you see… We are already doing that!

It turns out, I am at the helm of a disruptive startup, that saves consumers sometimes up to $500 on a single Rx… and no one can do anything to stop us from doing this!

Based on all of the sentiment on Wall Street I guesstimate that our success can plausibly wipe nearly $100 BILLION in market value from the top publicly traded PBM’s, health insurance carriers who own PBM’s, pharmacy chains, and other stakeholders… so you see the truth is…

No one really WANTS to lower drug prices… except for MailMyPrescriptions.com.

And I’m sure you want to know the recipe. So next month I will be publishing a response to this post titled ‘The secret sauce of how MailMyPrescriptions.com is lowering drug prices’. I will take you behind the scenes so that you can see how we are about to inform the nation about our lower drug prices.

Founders Spotlight Week of July 23

Online reviews have become an essential part of our company as they help us strengthen the conversation with current, new and potential customers. At MailMyPrescriptions.com we all love what we do, and we love hearing about it, good and bad. While certain reviews give us just the proverbial pat on the back we need to keep providing you with excellent care, others provide the critical insight to help us stay competitive.

Every day this feedback makes its way to the staff that renders our service and to the engineers and thought leaders that build the systems for our staff and who design our customer experience. As one of those thought leaders and the inventor of MailMyPrescriptions.com, I thought it would be interesting to put a spotlight once a week on a review from the prior week that I found interesting.

This week’s spotlighted review comes from Dave in Vermont:

Checked with my Dr. before deciding on transferring an Rx as I had not heard of this company… He said “why not”?

So, I went on line and transferred one of my Rx’s as a ‘trial’. Was absolutely stunned that I would be saving over $1,100.00 over CVS pricing on a 6 month supply of a single med that I had been taking for several years!!!

Completed the transfer by calling in to answer a few questions. The Pharmacy Tech I spoke with was extremely proficient and professional in every way. My order was immediately processed and I had my meds within 3 days.

Will soon be transferring the balance of my meds to MMP.

Did you know that 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings? Dave just became a 31-percenter.

You can read Dave’s story here: https://www.trustpilot.com/reviews/5b51f1b59d2def0f38cf8fd7

Another Avoidable Death Due to Prescription Drug Pricing Travesty

It is a travesty when a life-saving medication has a price-tag that is out of reach. What’s worst is that your pharmacy and your insurance do not collaborate towards helping you obtain them by requesting extra paperwork while your health is at risk. This was the case of 19-year-old Yarushka Rivera a Massachusetts woman who died of a seizure because she was unable to get prior authorization to renew a prescription for her medication. Now her family sues Walgreens alleging its negligence caused their daughter’s death.

Rivera’s family went to Walgreens to fill her prescriptions of Topamax a medication that helped her manage her life-threatening seizures. Her family didn’t have any issues getting her medication from the pharmacy in the past, but a month after Rivera turned 19, the pharmacy informed them that her insurance wouldn’t cover the cost of the medication without receiving a doctor’s pre-authorization for insurance coverage.

At this point, the pharmacy gave the family two options: to pay $399.99 out of pocket to get the medication or wait for the pharmacist to contact the doctor for a pre-authorization form. Since they couldn’t afford to pay for the medication, they decide to wait.

They went to the pharmacy five separate times to follow up on their request, and each time the pharmacy would say they would notify the doctor. Throughout the time that the family waited for the authorization, Rivera suffered three seizures, the third which was fatal and led to her death.

She should not be dead. 

This is a travesty on two levels. First, the cost of the generic version of this prescription through MailMyPrescriptions.com is between $2.40 and $28.80 depending on the version of the drug, evidenced as follows:

Drug Name Our Price**
Topiramate Tablet 50 Mg (Generic Topamax) $2.40
Topiramate Tablet 100 Mg (Generic Topamax) $3.60
Topiramate Tablet 25 Mg (Generic Topamax) $1.50
Topiramate Sprinkle Cap 15 Mg (Generic Topamax) $17.10
Topiramate Sprinkle Cap 25 Mg (Generic Topamax) $28.80

*Generic drug prices as of 6/11/18 for a 30-day supply.

Our supply side business model proves that this drug didn’t cost anywhere near the list price she and her insurance were being forced to pay and clearly couldn’t afford. Surely Walgreens gets better wholesale prices than us, considering that they own 20% of AmerisourceBergen one of the three largest wholesalers in the world –  why couldn’t this patient get a similar price to ours?

It does not seem to be clear if she was ordering the brand or generic version of this prescription, and if it was the brand I presume for good reason – because if not, there is no excuse for a drug that wholesales for less than $1 a capsule, and less than $0.12 a tablet, to be marked up so egregiously. Even if she was prescribed the brand, why didn’t the pharmacy offer her a generic supply for 30-days until they worked out the paperwork issue? Surely the side effects would have been less severe than DEATH.

 

The second part of this travesty is that like Rivera, thousands of Americans come across these preauthorization forms to get the medicines they need to maintain their health.

At MailMyPrescriptions.com we believe that a pharmacist’s duties go beyond the dispensing of medication as they play a vital role in the well-being of their patients. Pharmacists take an Oath, similar to the Hippocratic oath. Pharmacies – corporations – should take an oath too.

We understand that the pharmacy process can be confusing at times that’s why we coordinate care directly with the doctor. No pharmacy should put this on the patient… period. There is NO excuse.

This problem is like a slow-moving freight train and Americans are a deer in the headlights. When people have to choose to handle paperwork they don’t understand, pay for things they can’t afford at absurd egregiously marked up prices, and/or DIE… we have failed as a society. IT IS COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE. At what point are we any different than animals that eat their offspring with business practices that kill our children.

Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, pharmacies, especially fortune 100 corporations who can afford to manage thousands of retail stores and employees have an obligation to pick up the phone. Would the child of a Walgreen’s executive have had the same experience? I think not.

NO AMERICAN SHOULD HAVE TO MAKE THE CHOICE OF “FOOD, BILLS OR SEIZURES AND/OR DEATH”. This is ABSURD and IMMORAL.

MailMyPrescriptions.com CEO Santo J. Leo Featured on Trustpilot.com Blog

I am excited to announce that I was recently featured on the Trustpilot blog, in an article titled: Trustpilot Everywhere – how our customers succeed by promoting their reputation across all channels.

The article focused on the integration of Trustpilot reviews in marketing campaigns to instill trust in potential customers. It highlighted some of the most successful advertising campaigns across the world, including MailMyPrescriptions.com for incorporating Trustpilot reviews in its national television commercials.

One of the key points I shared in the article was the use of storytelling in validating our customer’s experience:

“By utilizing Trustpilot reviews, we have an opportunity to let our customers tell others their story to not just friends and family, but the country. These stories validate the customer experience… MailMyPrescriptions.com has reinvented the pharmacy experience, and we are using Trustpilot to reinvent storytelling.”

Aside from outlining the most effective campaigns the article also reiterates the impact of online reviews on customers purchasing decisions.

Trustpilot reviews have become an essential part of our business as they help us strengthen the conversation with current, new and potential customers.

Customer feedback is becoming a necessity for any business looking to grow and increase customer confidence at different touch points of the buying journey. We believe that brands must always put people at the heart of their marketing strategy to create authentic campaigns and Trustpilot has been an excellent tool for this.

At MailMyPrescriptions.com we are committed to providing our customers excellent service and thoughtful care and what better way to do this than by building healthy relationships with them.

To read the full article, visit:

http://blog.trustpilot.com/blog/trustpilot-everywhere-how-our-customers-succeed-by-promoting-their-reputation-across-all-channels

MailMyPrescriptions.com Launches Preferred Partner Program

You can now offer your group members a more affordable and convenient alternative to get their medications through MailMyPrescriptions.com’s Preferred Partner Program. This program is designed to give groups of individuals, employers, associations, and non-prescribing healthcare providers, even more, savings when their members use our pharmacy service!

By participating in our Preferred Partner Program, your members will be eligible for special promotions at no additional cost! We will provide the organization a “Customer Code” that can be issued to members when they order through our pharmacy service. Benefits for members include free shipping on their first order and 2X loyalty points (equivalent to 5% cash back) on every order.

When your members order with MailMyPrescriptions.com we will:
• Coordinate getting prescriptions from their doctor
• Check for adverse drug interactions
• Make sure they are saving as much as possible
• Ensure the accuracy of their order and its timely arrival
• Coordinate additional refills when they need a new prescription
• Answer any questions they may have 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

MailMyPrescriptions.com is a licensed pharmacy that sells prescription drugs based on our purchase costs direct to consumers without any insurance or third-party involvement. We do not sell to any other pharmacy. We do not sell anything in bulk. We are not the distributor. Our pricing is designed to get your customers the lowest price. Period.

Click here to learn more the program.

MailMyPrescriptions.com Launches Non-Profit & Religious Organization Savings Program

Nonprofit organizations serve a vital role in society, with most such entities having a religious, charitable, scientific, or educational purpose. At MailMyPrescriptions.com we highly value their commitment towards enhancing local communities, and as a way to support them, we are pleased to announce our new Non-Profit & Religious Organization Savings Program, specially designed to give their members access to even more savings when they use our pharmacy service.

By participating in this program their members will be eligible for special promotions at no additional cost. We will provide them with a special “Customer Code” that can be issued to members for use when they order through our pharmacy service. They will receive free shipping on their first four orders and 2X loyalty Points on every order (an equivalent of 5% cashback).

When their members order with MailMyPrescriptions.com we will:
•  Coordinate getting prescriptions from their doctor
•  Check for adverse drug interactions
•  Make sure they are saving as much as possible
•  Ensure the accuracy of their order and its timely arrival
•  Coordinate additional refills when they need a new prescription
•  Answer any questions they may have 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

MailMyPrescriptions.com is a safe and reliable pharmacy service committed to giving your members quality care at an affordable cost. We are a licensed pharmacy that sells prescription drugs based on our purchase costs direct to consumers without any insurance or third-party involvement. We do not sell to any other pharmacy. We do not sell anything in bulk. We are not the distributor. Our pricing is designed to get your patients the lowest price. Period.

Click here to learn more about the program.

MailMyPrescriptions.com Launches Preferred Physician Savings Program

These days the first thing a patient thinks about when they find out they need to take a prescription medication is “what is this going to cost me?” Physicians can now offer their patients a more affordable and convenient alternative to paying cash at retail pharmacies. Thanks to the transparent guaranteed drug pricing MailMyPrescriptions.com offers, patients and prescribers can search prices from their mobile devices together inside the privacy of the examination room. If our price is affordable, the prescriber can electronically prescribe or fax the prescription to our pharmacy and instruct the patient to call us and then we will do all the work from there.

Physicians who enroll in our Preferred Physician Savings Program will make their patients immediately eligible for special promotions such as free shipping on their first order and 2X loyalty points (equivalent to 5% cash back) on every order.

Participating physicians will receive a special “Customer Code” that can be issued to patients when they order through our pharmacy service. It’s as easy as Search. Call. Save!

MailMyPrescriptions.com is a safe and reliable pharmacy service. Our licensed pharmacists – most of whom are also doctors – will coordinate with you to give your patients quality care at an affordable cost. When you enroll in the Preferred Physician Program, we will work with your office manager(s) to ensure that they have our SureScripts e-Prescribe information to expeditiously coordinate prescriptions and prescription refills for our mutual patients, or our fax information if you are not currently e-prescribing.

When your patients order with MailMyPrescriptions.com we will:
• Coordinate getting prescriptions from your office
• Check for adverse drug interactions
• Make sure they are saving as much as possible
• Ensure the accuracy of their order and its timely arrival
• Coordinate additional refills when they need a new prescription
• Answer any questions they may have 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

MailMyPrescriptions.com is a licensed pharmacy that sells prescription drugs based on our purchase costs direct to consumers without any insurance or third-party involvement. We do not sell to any other pharmacy. We do not sell anything in bulk. We are not the distributor. Our pricing is designed to get your patients the lowest price. Period.

Visit mailmyprescriptions.com/preferred-physicians/ to learn more.