Digital pharmacy Capsule has officially announced its launch in the Atlanta area, operating out of a Midtown storefront, according to a press release this month. The space, formerly home to Eye Elements adjacent to Starbucks, at 867 Peachtree Street NE Suite 102, acts as a hub for the company to serve the greater metro area with free same-day delivery, refills, and direct communication with pharmacists via its website, SMS, or mobile app.
Capsule’s aim is to make medicine “more accessible and convenient” for millions of Atlanta area residents, including many of those who live in “access-challenged pharmacy deserts.” The product also allows for discreet delivery of frequently stigmatized medications, along with ongoing, confidential pharmacist care and advice by text, chat, or phone.
“Capsule’s mission has always been to build a pharmacy that works for everyone,” Eric Kinariwala, founder and CEO of Capsule, said in the release. “We believe that the core pharmacy experience is fundamentally broken for the hundreds of millions of Americans who take medication regularly, so we set out to rebuild that experience from the inside out.”
Capsule has digitized the entire pharmacy experience end-to-end although the Midtown storefront is designed to handle walk-ins.
“Instead of spending millions on corner stores or forcing people to wait while their medications are mailed to them, Capsule has invested in technology and delivery that enables same-day, hand-delivery of prescriptions to anyone in the city,” according to the release. Capsule accepts all major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.
The expansion to Atlanta builds on Capsule’s existing operations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and more than a dozen other U.S. cities. By year’s end, Capsule anticipates it will have the ability to serve 100 million Americans.
Atlantans can sign up through the app or website and ask their doctors to send prescriptions directly to Capsule which is free to use — the only cost to consumers is their current insurance co-pay. Additionally, customers can call, text, or chat in real-time with expert pharmacists, see the cost of medications, view side effects and medication information, and manage prescriptions and refills directly from their phones or computers.
One-third of all neighborhoods in the largest U.S. cities are pharmacy deserts, according to the release, where residents must travel a mile or more to access their medications. “This problem affects nearly fifteen million people nationwide and disproportionately impacts communities of color who, studies show, already have lower rates of medication adherence and need to travel even farther to their nearest pharmacy to obtain their prescriptions.” In Atlanta, studies show that more than 50 percent of Black residents live in pharmacy deserts, the release notes.
“We know that there is a direct link between access to pharmacies and prescription fill rates,” Kinariwala said. “And the consequences of failing to fill vital prescriptions can be dire. Capsule is a part of the solution.”
Capsule recently raised an additional $300 million in new capital, bringing its total funds raised to $570 million. The company plans to use the new resources to continue investing in its products and technology platform and to expand into new markets, with a goal of reaching 100 million people by the end of 2021.
Capsule is also building a customer experience that bridges the specific need for prescriptions and a full range of medical services.
“Capsule’s long-term ambition is to create a hub where consumers can access all of their healthcare needs in a single, simple, holistic place,” Kinariwala said. “We’re doing that in a way that brings together everybody in healthcare versus trying to own all of those things ourselves. Just like you buy a cell phone and choose apps, people will be able to access Capsule’s digital pharmacy, as well as a best-in-class curated set of products and services to meet all of their healthcare needs from within a single app.”