Patient Engagement

Alto Pharmacy snaps up medication adherence tool developer Round Health

The acquisition of Round Health is the latest in a series of deals involving medication adherence this year.

Round Health smart pill bottle and companion app

Billing itself as “the most patient-centric pharmacy”, San Francisco-based Alto Pharmacy has acquired the assets of smart pill bottle developer Round Health, according to a blog post by the medication adherence startup. CNBC was the first to write about the deal and noted that Alto intends to integrate Round Health into the products and services it provides.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal fits into a broader trend of acquisitions in this digital health subsector to improve adherence and healthcare consolidation in general.

Circadian Design created Round Health’s automated refill and medication tracking program. The group of design engineers from Apple sought to boost adherence rates for pill takers. The pill bottle works with a companion app that allows users to program reminders for when to take their medication within a certain period of time. At the scheduled time, the bottle begins to glow. The bottle records medication use based on whether the bottle cap has been removed.

Alto delivers prescription medication to customers at home and at work and is part of an increasingly diverse group of companies using creative delivery medicines trying to move the needle on adherence rates.

Although the reasons behind poor adherence are complex, financial reasons account for an estimated 8 percent of people prescribed medication who fail to pick it up, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. So companies taking myriad approaches to the challenge such as seeking to reduce the out-of-pocket costs of drugs or even the hassle of picking them up at a pharmacy could make a difference.

This year, there have been a series of acquisitions in the medication adherence space from very different buyers.

Roche acquired mySugr — an interactive tool developer geared to people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.  It was particularly interesting that a pharma company was willing to buy this technology to add services to support its own products.

Digital Pharmacist acquired PocketRx. The company produced an app to improve interaction between community pharmacists and their customers. The deal was designed to help speed up product development for Digital Pharmacist and consolidate products and services into one app.

HMS Holdings purchased Eliza Corp., in a $170 million deal.  Eliza’s Software as a Service (SaaS) is aimed at employers, providers, health plans, hospitals, pharmacies and clinics to help them establish the best ways and times to engage customers for different use cases, including medication adherence.