PatientsLikeMe Partners With Walgreens To Build Medication-Specific Online Groups

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Cambridge, MA-based digital health company PatientsLikeMe announces a new partnership with Walgreens that will provide Walgreen’s customers with data culled from drug-specific social media groups hosted by PatientsLikeMe, but accessed from within Walgreen’s increasingly popular mobile health app. The announcement marks a turning point for PatientsLikeMe from a monetization perspective, as its the first time the company has exported its social media presence as a plug-in service for other apps.

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The new enhancement will provide users refilling prescriptions with the Walgreens app a graph breaking down the most common notes and reported side effects from users on the PatientsLikeMe website. Much of this information is already provided to patients in the form of a printed monograph that patients get anytime they pick up a prescription, but the information outlined in the monograph does not help users understand how frequently the side effects are experienced, and in general does not go as far as PatientsLikeMe in its effort to help patients understand their medication.

While financial terms were not disclosed, the partnership should also provide PatientsLikeMe with a lot more exposure to potential new users. PatientsLikeMe launched in 2004 with the goal of building disease-specific online support groups, but after 10 years and $27 million in venture funding, the company has only attracted 300,000 users. Still, though its user base is smaller than it probably should be for a company as well funded as PatientsLikeMe, the users it does have are collectively documenting their experiences with a wide variety of treatment plans, medications, and overall chronic disease management strategies. Now, it appears that PatientsLikeMe has found a market for this data outside of its own platform.


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