GoodRx Benefits Patients But May Profit From ‘Broken’ System

GoodRx Inc. has captured the attention of the pharmaceutical industry by putting pricing data on patients’ smartphones, often allowing them to choose between multiple prices for one drug at the pharmacy counter. While the startup — which went public last fall — unquestionably saves money for consumers, some experts say that it is a viable business only because of dysfunction in the broader drug channel.

GoodRx’s main business is a smartphone-based coupon program, which also includes price comparison tools. The company aggregates coupons by contracting with a number of PBMs, including Cigna Corp.’s Express Scripts, and offering patients the cheapest price for a drug among those partners’ negotiated network rates. If a patient uses a GoodRx coupon, the company collects a fee from a partner PBM. GoodRx debuted on the stock market on Sept. 23, closing out its first day as a public company at $50.50 per share — up from its initial public offering price of $33 per share. As of April 8, it was trading at $40.43.

© 2021 MMIT

Peter Johnson

Peter has been a reporter for nearly a decade. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered a wide variety of topics in his hometown of Seattle, where he continues to live. Peter’s work has appeared in publications including The Atlantic and The Stranger. Peter attended Colby College.

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