For many Americans, the need for life-sustaining prescription drugs is not an option, it is a reality. Whether is it from simply living long enough to have enough medical conditions that warrant the need for prescription drugs, or a dramatic life event such as an accident or traumatic brain injury or even a debilitating illness, the need for prescription drugs is paramount in their lives.
We are thankful for the drug companies that do the initial research to create and manufacture these initial drugs and over time, the use of generic drugs that produce the same miraculous results is needed. This article is looking at the means of distribution of these generic drugs by a company called Blink Health.
Who Is Blink Health?
Blink Health is one of several competitors in the discount generic drug market to bring the much-needed generic prescription drugs to the patients who need it most at the most economical cost possible. It is, in theory, a noble endeavor and one would think a welcome one. As we shall learn not everyone is doing summersaults over this.
Blink Health was created in 2015 by brothers Geoffrey Chaiken and Matthew Chaiken. With investor support, they started their own online generic prescription drug service by contracting with pharmacists across the country to have discount drug prices to the consumers. Their entire executive team is openly posted on their website at Blink Health Executive Team.[i]
They are a legitimate company working in the discount prescription drug arena and have a mission to help Americans receive the medicines they need for a better life. They are not without their own set of legal troubles as a result, but that is par for the course for any company that is an innovation disruptor in any industry.
How Does It Work?
The concept is simple enough. Create a company that uses technology to cut out the middlemen, contract with over 35,000 Pharmacies nationwide, and create an 80% savings. It is then able to offer online prices at a fixed price per prescription order, pay online, and pay nothing at the Pharmacy.
Blue Eagle Health reimburses the Pharmacy at the contracted rate. The Pharmacist is paid via the contracts in place. Because Blink Health is also a funding aggregator, many times the pharmacy is paid more than what the patient even paid.
The following is taken directly from Blink’s website and is a direct cut and paste quote:
About Blue Eagle Health
Our pharmacy benefit administrator, Blue Eagle Health, prioritizes transparency, and fair contracts for all pharmacies in the Blink network. Blue Eagle works with nearly all major PSAOs to create the national Blink pharmacy network.
What makes Blue Eagle Health different?
- Limited Network
- No administration fees
- No transaction fees
- No DIR/performance fees
- No clawback fees
- Fast, bi-weekly EFT payments
The Blink Difference
Members are enrolled and verified through Blink Health before coming to your pharmacy. We can offer low prices because we partner with a variety of sources:
- Loyalty programs
- Private sources
- Patient’s out-of-pocket cost
Blue Eagle Health pays providers at a contracted rate.
This should give you a good idea of how Blink Health can cut out the middleman and use their platform to bring discounted generic prescription drugs to the patient consumer.
Who Can Use Blink Health?
Any patient who needs prescription drugs can use Blink Health. Blink is free to use for those who have a valid prescription from their doctor or medical provider.
For home delivery, once the prescription is confirmed the medication will be shipped within 4 to 5 days from one of their nationwide distribution cities. For pickup at the local pharmacy, just search in your area for the participating pharmacies and pick up after paying online. You will receive a Blink Card after paying that is then presented to the pharmacist for medication pickup.
What Medications Are Offered And What Are The Prices?
Blink Health offers well over 15,000 different medications and can work with your health insurance, pharmacy, and co-pay to find you the most economical price available. Your local pharmacy may very well be a participating pharmacy within the Blink Health network.
You can simply type in the medication you are looking for and do a search on their website, or you can go to their medications directory[ii]. Once you find your medication, the price for both delivery and pharmacy pickup is shown. It appears to be a very transparent and seamless system. It is at that point easy enough to compare with your pharmacist.
Also, they have a pharmacy search for your area tool to help you find participating pharmacists. When we put in our zip code, there were more than 30 or 40 pharmacies that were available within the participating network. This means that all of them were vetted by Blink Health and Blue Eagle Health.
With Blink Health’s Pharmacy Plus option, if your doctor is a participating medical professional with Blink Health, they can send your prescription directly to Blink Health and you will get a text to view your lowest price. Pay for it securely online and have it shipped, or you can pick up at their network pharmacy.
What About Lawsuits
Are lawsuits against any company proof positive that the company is bad? From our perspective, the answer is a resounding “no”! We have a long-held belief that any company or corporation that is having a positive impact, even a disruptive impact in the American economy will be in the middle of a lawsuit at some point.
Most Americans still do business with Microsoft even though Microsoft was sued in the late 1990s by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and 20 USA states. Blink Health is no different than any other company that has seen success and has its share of lawsuits.
Some of these lawsuits were from internal partners and investors. A very good review of the cases against Blink Health and cases by Blink Health is already written at Bloomberg News on April 4, 2019, entitled Blink Health’s Plan toShake Up the Online Drug Market got Messy[iii]. Rather than rewrite about this, you can start your research by going to this article.
The lawsuits of any company, Blink Health being no exception, that either externally not everyone is happy with the disruption, or internally what some investors or partners thought initially was not the case. Either way, it is for the courts and the contract laws of the United States to litigate.
This is not a defense or an attack on Blink Health. It is only mentioned here to make sure that you as a consumer can be the best judge in a free market society. As a start-up company going on 5 years, Blink Health is still in business and appears that it will be in business in the perceived forgoing future.
What We Liked About Blink Health
The drug prescription industry has long had a reputation, starting with the drug manufacturers sometimes called “Big Pharma” to have unreasonably high-priced drugs for the consumers. Blink Health is a company seeking to change that. Through its platform, a consumer can look up any drug on their list, and immediately see the cost for that drug for delivery or pickup for a certain day period use.
We also liked the Blink Pharmacy Plus feature that works with your doctor (if in the Blink Network) and your health insurance company to bring you the most cost-effective filling of your prescription most seamlessly and transparently. It seems to be a genuinely nice innovation.
We also liked the voluminous articles relating to drugs, drug prescriptions, and health in general. Just go to Blink Health Blog[iv] and start to become well-informed. Although it is no different than any other successful companies blog site, it is still a strong indication that this company is here to stay.
One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with a company is to simply go to their FAQ’s and get answers to the most obvious questions. Blink Health’s FAQ page can be found at Blink Health Support[v] and should answer any questions you might have in your research to use Blink Health for the first time or even to continue using Blink Health for your prescription drug needs.
What We Did Not Like About Blink Health
Initially, when we saw the lawsuits against Blink Health it gave us some pause. However, it seems that the initial startup and jealousy lawsuits are behind Blink Health, so we were able to get past our pause.
Also, they do seem to have similar competitors in this space so it concerns us if Blink Health can withstand the competition. There are other online discount card providers and Blink Health is another discount card provider. It does not state that clearly on their website, but it is a discount card provider. A great article to read on this subject would be the best prescription drug cards[vi] by Retirement Living.
Even though Blink Health very clearly gives you the fixed cost online, it does not offer a comparison between their cost and any other competitor costs, including cash at the pharmacy counter. I assume it is for good reason as these prices can change week to week and from region to region, or pharmacy chain to local pharmacy chain.
What About The Bigger Disruptor?
There is an unknown variable in this entire discount drug industry. The reality is that there may be a disruption in the entire drug manufacturing industry. It has to do with supply chain distribution and where most of the prescription drugs are manufactured.
The reason is the COVID-19 pandemic that was originated out of Wuhan, China, and appears to have much misinformation regarding its source. It brings to light to more and more Americans where their prescription drugs are manufactured. It is China as with many products Americans enjoy maintaining their high quality of life.
Do Americans want to put up with the thought that at anytime China could limit in anyway the supply chain distribution at its very source- manufacturing of prescription drugs? It may very well be a call for pharmaceutical companies to bring back both the research and the manufacturing of initial and generic drugs.
There will be a huge tension between the drug manufacturing process companies, the large Pharmaceutical companies, and American workers who will not work at the lower wage that Chinese workers may. So, the push will be from a demanding public and the companies who still need to make a profit to provide the very drugs Americans want for a lower price.
The result could be higher across the board drug prices, at least in the short term if the manufacturing of prescription drugs is returned to American shores. It is potentially possible that the US Government may highly likely offer lower corporate tax rates to companies who return this most needed manufacturing and distribution to America or at least North America.
This is a possibility and conjecture on my part, but it is not an unreasonable scenario. A pandemic of the magnitude we have seen with Covid-19 is just the disruptor that could even have companies like Blink Health potentially refocus or restructure their supply chain distribution platform.
Blink Health is now established as a strong competitor in the discount prescription drug arena. Online ordering of a person’s prescription discount drugs is here to stay and Blink Health is a disruptor in the supply chain but also needs to understand that they need to be ever vigilant as things like global pandemics have a way of changing societal norms and could affect their business model.
Seriously, whoever heard of people keeping six feet apart and wearing face masks everywhere, but here we are a new societal norm that may be with us for a while. For now, give Blink Health a try on at least some of your prescriptions. Talk to your Pharmacist and even your medical professional doctor about using Blink Health. Your research could end up saving you thousands of dollars straight to your bottom line.