PocketPills, which bills itself as the sole online pharmacy operating in Canada, has raised $7.35 million in new financing as it expands across the country.
Through partnerships with insurers like Pacific Blue Cross the company provides co-insurance reductions for prescriptions. “We have an option for you to come and join our platform just like any pharmacy,” says company co-founder and chief operating officer, Harj Samra.
Samra launched the company in 2018 with Raj Gulia, a fellow proprietor of pharmacies across Canada, and the serial entrepreneur and co-founder of RocketFuel Abhinav Gupta. After RocketFuel’s public offering, Gupta was toying with several ideas for direct to consumer companies when he was approached by Gulia and Samra.
Together the three men launched PocketPills to bring the online pharmacy model to Canada as a way to save money for insurers.
The problem for insurers is that the use of generic drugs in Canada lags behind that of the U.S., says Gupta. “The difference is quite substantial. The U.S is about 90% generic fill rate and in Canada that number is at 70%,” he says.
PocketPills covers everything that a regular Canadian pharmacy would outside of controlled substances and narcotics. The bulk of the company’s prescriptions to date are for medications for chronic conditions.
Now the company is looking to expand across the country, opening fulfillment locations in Nova Scotia and soon in Quebec.
To back that growth and continue its development, PocketPills turned to a large Canadian family office and the investment firm Waterbridge to finance its $7.35 million round.
“PocketPills is timed well for massive value creation in the Canadian health care industry through its technology innovations. It has captured a sweet spot at the intersection of cost (insurers and employers), convenience (patients) and care (chronic diseases),” said Manish Kheterpal, Managing Partner, WaterBridge Ventures, in a statement.