Hi everyone! I’m Spiffy, your favorite interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making a difference in healthcare. Today I’m going to learn how Joshua Pritchett, founder and CEO of Medisend, is working to make sure people can safely, conveniently, and affordably get the prescription medicine they need. Are you ready to be enlightened?
Spiffy: Welcome Joshua, I’m ready to hear what challenge you’re addressing! What problem is Medisend solving?
Joshua: Well Spiffy, two of the major addressable problems that exist today in healthcare are medication access and adherence. Both problems can be deeply interdependent and can result in severe and sometimes fatal outcomes for patients. To combat these problems, Medisend is developing an on-demand medicine delivery platform and proprietary algorithms to make obtaining medication convenient, faster, and cheaper.
Spiffy: I know a lot of people who could use that. What motivated you to interrupt the field of prescription medicine?
Joshua: I started Medisend as a pandemic response to provide safer access to medicine for patients with underlying health conditions and increased risk to critical outcomes from exposure to COVID-19. Additionally, my research revealed that many patients experienced postal delays when electing mail-order pharmacies as an alternative to retail pharmacies. Knowing that so many patients do not have safe and reliable access to medication is what motivates the Medisend team and me to solve this problem.
Spiffy: Safety is so crucial. How would you say you’re working to make the world a more equitable place?
Joshua: Today, approximately 35 million Americans are uninsured just as I was before starting my engineering career. Because of our understanding of how difficult it can be to afford medication without insurance, Medisend is working towards a more equitable world by developing a solution to lower out-of-pocket expenses for patients without insurance. We are also aiming to eliminate “pharmacy deserts” by providing on-demand medication access to urban communities without pharmacies.
Spiffy: Wow, I had no idea. Can you talk about a recent milestone Medisend has met, and what kind of impact you anticipate it will have?
Joshua: In the first quarter of 2021, Medisend launched its Minimal Viable Product (MVP) in the Bay Area. With our MVP, we were able to protect local Bay Area residents during the pandemic by providing them with fast on-demand medication delivery. Additionally, our chief technology officer, Kenneth Curtis, and the engineering team have made a ton of progress ahead of our upcoming beta launch which will allow us to bring our platform and services to more patients around the world.
Spiffy: I’m curious if you’ve ever faced failure and how you overcame it?
Joshua: Well Spiffy, in middle school, my 6th-grade science teacher approached me about an internship opportunity at Miles College. I remember having doubts about being too young and how my grades wouldn’t translate into readiness for conducting research at a college. In the beginning, I struggled to keep up with the brilliant minds around me. After several nights filled with disappointments, I decided to study overtime after we finished our research. I grew considerably, and by the end of the summer, I was able to make contributions to the research. My takeaway from the experience is to never give up in the face of adversity and learn how to step back, strategize, and execute—knowing that I have what it takes to do anything I put my mind to.
Spiffy: It sounds like you took an intimidating situation and turned it into a major life lesson. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today, Joshua, and for working to make access to medicine better for everyone. It’s been an honor.
Joshua Pritchett is the founder and CEO of Medisend, a health tech startup developing an on-demand medicine delivery platform to improve medication access and adherence for patients. Joshua is an engineering program manager at Google with a background in software engineering, bioinformatics, and computer science. (Nominated by Jubily. First published on the Ladderworks website on September 10, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.