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New approach to Rx hits N.Y. market: Capsule

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NEW YORK — Innovation is key in the pharmacy industry, and one new company is using innovation to distinguish itself in this very competitive field.

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In NYC, patients get their medications from Capsule by couriers.

Capsule, which opened in New York City last month, is a digital start-up focusing on the home delivery of prescription drugs. The other difference between Capsule and its non-digital competitors is that the new company is only focused on prescriptions and not on non-pharmaceutical front-end merchandise as in other stores.

According to Capsule executives, the home delivery pharmacy is targeting “existing pain points” of conventional, brick-and-mortar pharmacies, namely long wait times to fill prescriptions, return trips to the pharmacy, and cost and other questions regarding medications.

Instead of traditional dropping off and picking up prescriptions, patients will get their medications hand-delivered by couriers throughout the city, with the temporary exception of Staten Island. Delivery is free.

To build its business, Capsule says it will rely on consumer and doctor awareness. Patients can request Capsule by name, or doctors can recommend it. Prescriptions are filed electronically by doctors and then are filled by the pharmacy. Capsule founder and chief executive officer Eric Kinariwala said, “It’s going to be a lot more efficient and faster.”

Capsule says it will ensure medications are always in stock through its “predictive inventory management” technology. Doctors, the company says, will be notified digitally when a patient has picked up a prescription and patients will be notified when a refill is ­scheduled.

Capsule also provides patients the chance to ask questions about their prescriptions by phone or text, via its website and through a new Capsule app. Customers will also know what their co-payment will be for their medication in advance.

“Capsule is different,” Kinariwala said. “We’re completely rebuilding the pharmacy from the ground up.”

Though the company has one store — also its office — in Manhattan, customers have the option to pick up prescriptions there. “It’s not really designed for people to walk into,” Kinariwala said, adding that eliminating patients walking into the store will help create a better experience.

And while launched in New York City, Kinariwala said the Capsule business model would “certainly make sense” in a number of other markets across the country.

Before starting Capsule, Kinariwala worked in investing at Bain Capital and Perry Capital. To fund Capsule, Kinariwala received an infusion of cash of an undisclosed amount from Thrive Capital.


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