Douglas Pierce is the president, founder, and CEO of Prescription Hope, a national prescription drug access program designed to make medication affordable for all. After earning a degree in Business Communications, Douglas Pierce entered the healthcare field in the mid 1990s, and soon became acutely aware of a major problem faced by millions of Americans: the excessive and in some cases prohibitive costs of prescription medication.
To address this problem, in 2006 Douglas Pierce launched Prescription Hope, which works to help patients across the country dramatically reduce their medication costs by enrolling in patient assistance programs, which are run by pharmaceutical and medical supply companies. Customers pay Prescription Hope only $50 per month, per medication. Since its inception, Prescription Hope has helped more than 80,000 Americans save over $300 million dollars — and ultimately live healthier, happier, and longer lives.
Douglas Pierce is widely recognized as a leading voice in the healthcare industry, and has been featured by many leading publications and news organizations, including the Boston Globe, Reuters, ABC25 WPBF, Dr. Oz, and NBC News.
- Let us start by telling us about your business.
To understand Prescription Hope, it is necessary to take a step back and look at a massive problem in the healthcare industry that has been growing for decades: the enormous and rising costs of prescription medication. In fact, the problem is so bad, that research has found that about 10 percent of people do not take their medication as prescribed — not because they do not want to or do not need to, but because they simply cannot afford it. That is beyond tragic. It is catastrophic.
My company, Prescription Hope, is designed to help people across the country significantly and sustainably reduce their medication costs. Our business model is quite simple to understand. Customers go to our website and tell us about their prescription medications on our easy to fill out application.
Then, at absolutely no cost and no risk to customers, our experts do the research to determine if they are eligible to participate in various patient assistant programs. These are run by pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, and designed to help financially challenged customers reduce their medication costs. Program eligibility rules, terms and conditions vary from one pharmaceutical company to another — plus they can change over time — and our experts review each one on behalf of our customers.
If we determine that a customer is eligible to enroll in one or more patient assistance programs, then we facilitate their enrollment and guide them through the process. We charge a flat, predictable fee of $50 per medication, per month. We do not charge any enrollment fees, and there are zero hidden costs. Our customers know exactly how much they are paying us, and there are never any unwelcome billing surprises. We do not sell a discount card and we are not an insurance product.
Once a customer is enrolled in one or more patient assistance programs, they start receiving their medication on a monthly basis. It is exactly the same medication that they were getting before enrollment. Absolutely nothing changes in that respect. All that changes is the cost, and the savings can be quite significant. We have many customers who are saving hundreds and thousands of dollars a month.
- Please tell us how you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
We make sure that our customers become raving fans of Prescription Hope in four key ways.
The first is that our Patient Advocates are both highly trained and very friendly. From the moment that customers contact us, they know and feel that they are working with a company that truly cares about their health and wellbeing, and is deeply committed to helping them save money. Everyone on our roster is deeply committed to service excellence, including team members who may not necessarily work directly with customers, but nevertheless play an important role in meeting our extremely high customer service standards.
The second is that we make the process extremely easy for our customers. They do not have to spend hours of their time trying to make sense of confusing patient assistance program terms and conditions, and they do not have to provide us with huge volumes of information. They simply need to let us know which medications they are taking, fill out a couple of simple questions on our application, and we do all of the work on their behalf.
The third is that we get results. If customers are eligible for enrollment in one or more patient assistance programs, then we help them save a significant amount of money. For many customers, the amount of savings we help them realize is the difference between living comfortably, and struggling to make ends meet — or possibly being forced to file for bankruptcy.
The fourth is that our pricing is very transparent and honest. We charge a flat fee of $50 per medication, per month. This is especially important to many seniors who are on a fixed income. They never have to worry about suddenly seeing hidden or extra costs.
- Please tell us the one thing that separates your business from the competition.
There are many things that separate Prescription Hope from the competition, but if I had to choose just one, it would be that we can and do make a direct, positive difference in the lives of our customers. We are on their side.
- And to finish this section, please tell us what the one major key to your company’s success is?
The key to our company’s success is also something that I have already mentioned, but it is worth highlighting again: we achieve significant and measurable results for our customers. They can go from paying thousands of dollars a month to $50 a month for the exact same medications.
- For our readers just starting to build a company, what advice can you give entrepreneurs just starting out with a new venture?
I believe the best advice for emerging entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and ages, is to really be passionate about what to do. Yes, if everything goes well then you will surely enjoy the financial rewards of your efforts. But your goal should not simply be to make as much money as possible. You should be inspired by a vision that is rooted in values, ethics and principles. My inspiration to launch Prescription Hope was to help people afford their medication, so they could live healthier, happier, and in some cases even longer lives.
- For entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as yours, what big piece of advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
The best advice I can give entrepreneurs who run into challenges — and trust me, that will happen! — is to surround yourself with talented and dedicated people, and don’t hesitate to turn to them for input and insight. I also wake up each day and thank the Lord for another opportunity to be of service to my family, my community, my colleagues and our customers.
- In today’s fast changing business environment, how do you stay abreast of things?
At Prescription Hope, we have a very sophisticated technological ecosystem that helps us position and prepare for both the short-term and long-term future. And of course, I have an incredible team and a professional network that I regularly consult to stay informed of the latest trends, innovations, insights, best practices, and more.
- What is your “Why”? In one sentence, why do you get up in the morning?
I mentioned this a moment ago, but I am happy to reiterate it again: I get up in the morning to be of service to others. Each day we are given a priceless opportunity to either make the world a little better or worse by our presence and efforts.
- In one sentence, what is the most important thing one has to do to be a great leader?
I believe that the most important thing that one must do to be a great leader is to be truly and deeply passionate and dedicated — because if they are not, how can they possibly expect others to be that way?
- In one sentence, describe how important your customers are to your business?
Our customers are everything to our business, and we never lose sight of this truth.
- In one sentence, describe a positive way that technology can make the world a better place?
I am really energized by the concept of a virtual pharmacy service, which enables individuals to connect directly to a pharmacist through their computer or smartphone — which is not just more convenient, but these days is much safer; especially for seniors and those with compromised or weakened immune systems.
- In one sentence, tell us something positive to motivate our readers?
Do not wait for the opportunity to make a positive difference — create your own opportunity by doing something right now; it does not have to be enormous, even a small act or gesture can lead to something profound down the road.
- In one sentence, tell us how you start your day to get ready?
I pray and do devotions, go to the gym and workout, and then get my day started — this routine is very important to me, and helps keep me balanced and focused on what really matters.
- In one sentence, describe how you handle rejection and setback?
I see rejection and setbacks as opportunities to learn and adjust — I believe that we can often learn much more from our perceived failures than we can from our successes.
- In one sentence, describe what your hiring philosophy is?
Our hiring philosophy at Prescription Hope is to recruit talented people who truly care about the mission and vision of the company, and about serving our customers.
- In one sentence, describe how you keep your sanity in a competitive business environment?
What keeps me balanced is never taking anything in life for granted — life is a gift and an opportunity, and it is up to each of us to make the most of it by serving others and striving to make the world a better place.