Douglas Pierce is the founder of Prescription Hope, a national prescription drug access program designed to make medication affordable for all.
Douglas Pierce entered the medical field shortly after graduating from Cedarville University, a privately-owned Baptist university located in Cedarville, Ohio, where he earned a degree in Business Communications. His entrance into the world of healthcare occurred in 1996, when he ran a health insurance brokerage.
Although Mr. Pierce enjoyed what he did, he became acutely aware of a major problem faced by many Americans: the high cost of medication. Thus, he set out to find a solution to this problem and that is how the idea for Prescription Hope came to be. Since its inception in 2006, the company has been dedicated to providing their customers with unparalleled savings on prescription medications. Through Prescription Hope, people who qualify for patient assistance programs receive medication year-round for just $50 a month. When you look at the cost of prescription drugs in the United States, this is an incredible feat.
Today, Prescription Hope, operates all over the United States, with a processing center in Columbus, Ohio, and their recently opened new headquarters in Stuart, Florida. The company now has over 30,000 square feet of office space in Florida and they are only expanding from there.
Where did the idea for Prescription Hope come from?
The idea for Prescription Hope came to be after I witnessed far too many people struggling to pay for prescription medicine. Before I founded the company, I worked at a health insurance brokerage in the mid-1990s. It was there that I met so many hard working Americans who had to skip doses or buy fewer groceries that week all because of the high cost of medication. This weighed on me heavily and it only got worse when my own mother was prescribed an incredibly expensive medication that would have bankrupted my parents had we not found another way. Overall, these experiences cemented in me a serious need to fix this problem and I did so by making prescription medications more affordable to the American people.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Being an entrepreneur is an extremely busy lifestyle, but especially so in the healthcare sector, given that we are in the midst of a global health pandemic. Right now, my day starts with a virtual meeting with my staff in Stuart, Florida. We go over any issues with clients and usually brainstorm how we can improve our services. The rest of my day usually goes by in a whirlwind and is filled with sales calls, marketing meetings, lunches and dinners with prospective clients (pre-pandemic), press interviews, and also setting up the new Florida office.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Speaking directly with people about their healthcare coverage, what’s working for them and what isn’t, is really the biggest motivation there is. Understanding the different ways that people are struggling inspires me to come up with some way that I can help them and that’s ultimately how the ideas for many of our services came about.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think telehealth and virtual healthcare is a really exciting trend that we are seeing come about due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, I wish the circumstances under which it is becoming more popular were different, but I do think it is an extremely valuable service in this day and age.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I leave work at work. I used to spend hours after I’d come home each night on my computer, pouring over emails and files. I know this is something that a lot of entrepreneurs are guilty of. Ultimately, I decided that if I wanted to have a fulfilling personal life that involved spending time with my family and friends, I needed to have more separation between my job and my family. So now I am very strict about closing my laptop, turning off my phone, and being present as soon as I come home each day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to follow your passion. I spent several years at a healthcare brokerage firm and while it ended up being a valuable experience, I didn’t necessarily enjoy what I was doing. I felt terrible that I couldn’t do more for my clients, especially knowing the lengths they had to go to in order to afford their basic prescription medications. If I could do it all over again, I would have founded Prescription Hope even earlier.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Technology should be a key part of any company, even if the demographic is seniors. We work with many elderly clients and although we were unsure at first whether they would embrace our online software, they absolutely have. Through our in-house software, each client has their own dashboard and from there, they can manage their own medications, coordinating refills and renewals and ultimately ensuring there is never a lapse in their medication therapy.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I do the same thing each and every morning. I pray, I go for a run with my dog, and then I come home and have a cup of coffee with my wife. Having this daily routine grounds me and gives me a chance to relax and check in with myself each and every day.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Building partnerships was absolutely critical for my business, especially in the early years of the company. I met with local and national organizations across the United States on a near daily basis, in order to raise awareness and make Prescription Hope known to as many American consumers as possible. I think this made a huge difference to the growth of our company.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As I mentioned, partnerships were critical to the growth and development of Prescription Hope. However, early on in the company’s history, there were a few major organizations I really hoped to partner with that ultimately said they weren’t interested. In order to overcome any failure, I always try to understand what led to it. I made a point of having follow-up meetings with the organizations that passed in order to understand why they said no. It allowed me to learn from my mistakes and make some changes for the better.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I love the idea of having a virtual pharmacist service. We are seeing the rise of telehealth appointments with doctors, but I think it would be equally useful to be able to speak (virtually) with a pharmacist, in order to ask them any questions you might have about your medications.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently donated a large sum of money to the Children’s Impact Network. This is a charity that we have worked with for a long time. They do incredible work, including building schools and houses and providing clean water for families and children in need around the world.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
My team and I use Asana. It is a great organizational tool for assigning tasks, tracking assignments, and checking in with my team. It’s especially useful now that many of our staff are working remotely.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard. This book made me realize what it means to be a true leader and it helped me immensely when I first founded my company.
What is your favorite quote?
It is a verse from the Bible. “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” – Matthew 19:26
- Sticking to a daily routine and regularly checking in with yourself will allow you to be more productive.
- Partnerships with local and national organizations are key to growing a business.
- Telehealth and virtual healthcare is an exciting new trend within the healthcare sector.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.