GoodRx buys HeyDoctor in expansion into Telemedicine

GoodRx, an online marketplace for discounts on prescription drugs, has acquired startup HeyDoctor, giving it a foothold in the growing business of providing medical care over the internet.

The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. GoodRx was valued at $2.8 billion in August 2018 after the private equity firm Silver Lake Management took a major stake.

The move into virtual medicine marks a shift for Santa Monica, Calif.-based GoodRx. It joins the ever-growing list of companies seeking to turn quick, convenient online doctor visits into big business.

GoodRx enables consumers to shop for the best prices on prescription drugs, which can vary widely not only between brand names and generics but from pharmacy to pharmacy. GoodRx doesn’t sell the drugs; instead, it directs consumers to the drugstore with the best deal and offers coupons.

Adding the ability to connect its customers with doctors who can write prescriptions seemed like a natural fit, said Doug Hirsch, co-chief executive and co-founder of GoodRx.

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Female doctor in her surgery office with headset in front of her laptop, an x-ray of a foot in hand, talking with a senior patient, telemedicine concept

“When we started GoodRx, we had a very simple mission, which was to try to bring affordable and convenient health care to Americans,” said Hirsch, a former Facebook executive. “As we got deeper and deeper into this, we realized that we’re only solving with prescriptions about 10 percent of the cost of healthcare.”

GoodRx will fold HeyDoctor’s services into its company, offering treatment, prescriptions and lab tests from doctors for routine medical issues through its website. HeyDoctor currently offers online physician visits for 18 medical issues, including acne, birth control, HIV testing and vitamin D screening.

Under the rebranded GoodRx Care, most of those visits will cost $20, without insurance. Hirsch said the company plans to expand that list to offer treatment for more conditions.

With the acquisition of HeyDoctor, GoodRx joins a group of new telehealth companies like Hims and Roman Medical that seek to provide easy, quick prescriptions by simply filling out a questionnaire online. But HeyDoctor had set itself apart by positioning itself as a replacement for a visit to an urgent-care clinic. And unlike its competitors, GoodRx won’t sell drugs directly. Instead, it will arrange a doctor’s appointment and then direct the patient to the pharmacy with the best deal.

“The challenge, of course, is to do in a way that’s both affordable and high quality,” said Hirsch.