Welcoming Jim Messina and Larry Summers to PillPack

✌TJ Parker
Nov 29, 2017 · 4 min read

Today, I’m honored to announce that two respected leaders are joining the PillPack team. Jim Messina, known for his leadership on President Obama’s 2012 campaign, has joined our Board of Directors. And Dr. Lawrence H. Summers, Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton, has joined our strategic advisory group.

Image for post
Image for post

Since 2013, PillPack has worked to put customers at the center of the pharmacy experience. Our service makes it easier for people with chronic conditions to manage medications. Now, we’re beginning to see the results of this work play out on a large scale. PillPack has tens of thousands of customers across the country, will do over $100 million in revenue this year, and has launched PharmacyOS, the first backend pharmacy system designed specifically for customers with complex medication regimens.

We’re far from done. Health care businesses that are successful in tomorrow’s market will figure out how to take on risk, deliver improved outcomes, and earn margin based on that success. Recent developments suggest this world may be closer than it seems. The Affordable Care Act changed the way that providers get paid, shifting to focus on outcomes rather than quantity of services delivered. And there’s little argument that when incentives are aligned to keep people healthy, the market is more efficient. PillPack was built in anticipation of this evolution.

Over the last year, the industry shifted in a promising direction. CVS and Anthem are teaming up to build a new model of pharmacy benefits management. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are evaluating ideas to create more transparency and clarity. And Amazon is silently looming in the background, allowing rampant speculation about how it might change industry dynamics even further. It’s exciting to see established players start to think in new ways.

Mr. Messina and Dr. Summers have helped us both catalyze and navigate changes in the industry so far, and their expertise will be invaluable in PillPack’s next phase of growth.

For over two years, Jim Messina has worked with us to broker conversations with key influencers, insurance providers (or “payers”) and pharmacy benefit managers (PBM’s). For each of these important stakeholders, Jim helped identify who we should connect with, helped make those connections, and helped us deliver a clear, consistent message.

At times, the established industry has been difficult to navigate. Most visibly when we publicly clashed with Express Scripts, but also in numerous other behind-the-scenes conversations with similar players. Jim helped us sort out many of these situations. In most cases, disagreements stemmed from the fact that PillPack doesn’t fall neatly into an existing category of pharmacy. Instead, we’ve taken the best parts of retail, long-term care, and mail-order to create a wholly different kind of service that better meets the needs of customers managing multiple daily medications. We’ve argued before that the only way health care will get better in this country is by allowing new and innovative solutions to thrive. With Jim’s help, we spent the last few years successfully explaining the necessity of innovation and the benefits of our approach to a wide range of thoughtful people and influential partners. These contacts often became ardent PillPack supporters, and we’re now working productively with a range of payers, providers, and PBMs.

We’re inspired by Jim’s drive to improve healthcare delivery in America, so that it better serves everyday people. As a Director on our Board, Jim will help us orchestrate conversations, engage with new partners, and ultimately launch programs designed to make life easier for the tens of millions of Americans that manage chronic conditions.

Image for post
Image for post
Today, PillPack uses design, technology, and excellent customer service to make it easier for customers to manage prescriptions, vitamins, and over-the-counter medications.

While PillPack’s service model is unique, our business model today is relatively similar to any other pharmacy. That means we can work and build a business within the system as it exists today. It’s a core reason why Jim’s education campaign and efforts to date have been successful: we aren’t asking for dramatic change immediately. We simply want to provide a beneficial service for customers within the existing structure.

However, our model also anticipates a different, better version of the world. One where it’s much easier to hinge the financial incentives of core players (payers, manufacturers, and retailers) around health outcomes for the end consumer. This vision is aligned with that of Dr. Lawrence H. Summers, who is a renowned thought-leader on the economics and policy of health care and has been in the middle of these conversations for many years.

Since I first met Dr. Summers, he has informally helped us analyze market dynamics in the changing landscape. We’re working with him to explore new models of care delivery and the economic structure that can help the US get to a sustainable drug distribution system with appropriately aligned incentives. Today, PillPack is in a position to begin to catalyze the changes we want to see in the future. We’re honored that Dr. Summers has chosen to join us in a formal advisory role. Going forward, Dr. Summers will help us drive progress and partner with other consumer- and outcomes-focused entities to change the structure of pharmacy.

On behalf of the PillPack team and Board, I’m proud to welcome Mr. Messina and Dr. Summers to our mission.

Read more about this announcement in our November 29, 2017 press release.

The Team at PillPack

News & updates from the team at PillPack, a full-service…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store