'Take Any Metric': GoodRx CEO on Inequality in US Healthcare

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

'Take Any Metric': GoodRx CEO on Inequality in US Healthcare

Ten years ago, GoodRx CEO Doug Hirsch walked into a pharmacy on Wilshire Boulevard with a prescription that would've cost him $500.

"It seemed outrageous," he said on Tuesday during a wide ranging discussion with dot.LA managing editor Rachel Uranga at the dot.LA Summit.

He took the prescription back and shopped around, trying a handful of pharmacies across the city. They all wanted something different. One shop owner, on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, told Hrisch he had no idea how prescriptions are priced.

"That was the genesis of what started GoodRx: trying to figure out how healthcare is priced," he said.

GoodRx, the most downloaded medical app, made a splash on Wall Street when it went public last month. It provides consumers with prescription comparison pricing, taking advantage of price variations to offer cheaper drugs. The platform now boasts five million active users and lists 70,000 pharmacies. And unlike other tech IPOs, it's actually profitable.

Hirsch said he's committed to making prices cheaper for Americans struggling to make ends meet. And after 10 years of doing it, he's not worried that a new president or political pressure to lower the cost of prescription medicine will soon upend his business model.

But, he said, he took in some lessons from the death of George Floyd, a moment that forced America to reckon with race and inequity.

"What I learned, to be honest, over the course of the whole George Floyd spring or summer was that it's not fairly distributed. It's not like everyone has the same problems when it comes to healthcare. The impact on the Black and Brown communities are so much greater and the outcomes are so much worse," he said.

"Take any metric — whether it be COVID or heart disease or diabetes — and you see the pattern of racism, you see worse outcomes for people of color. I need to align our company to make sure that we are focused on helping the people that need it most."

During the conversation, Hirsch said he was proud that his independent board members are female, but that he could do better to diversify his company.

Hirsch added that he loved the company and talked about a handsome compensation package tied to GoodRx performance that would give him more than 12 million shares after four years.

"One of the things I'm most excited about as a result of this IPO is that we can now take millions and millions of dollars and apply it to people for whom the gap just remains too large," he said.


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