T.J. Parker grew up working in his father’s family-owned pharmacy in Concord, N.H. Now he’s setting out to change the way people have been buying medication for more than a century.
Parker launched a startup called PillPack last year, aiming to overhaul the pharmacy business the way Netflix upended the world of movie rentals. PillPack promises to make the process of ordering medication simple and fast by using the Internet and the reach of the US Postal Service.
PillPack ships doctor-prescribed medications to customers every two weeks. Rather than delivering drugs in separate bottles, PillPack does all the sorting ahead of time. Every dosage is individually packaged and labeled. The day and time the pills should be taken are stamped on each pack.
When Parker worked for his father’s pharmacy, he often delivered medications to homes. The sight of customers with piles of pill bottles and computer spreadsheets taped to refrigerator doors was common. He thought there had to be a better way.
After graduating from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 2012, Parker put his idea to the test and created PillPack.
“The biggest value for me is having grown up with this,” said Parker, who runs his startup out of offices in Somerville and Manchester, N.H.
Parker has had some early success. He entered the famed startup accelerator program Techstars in 2013 and has raised $4 million in venture funding, largely from the Cambridge firms Atlas Venture and Founder Collective. PillPack also received design help from IDEO, a firm that has worked with the likes of Apple and Ford Motor Co.
So far, the company has several hundred customers. But Parker says PillPack is just starting to advertise. And he’s still working with his dad, who lends years of experience working in a brick-and-mortar pharmacy to help launch one for the digital age.