The Guardian recently wrote, “Millions of Americans can’t afford the prescription drugs they require to survive, forcing them into bankruptcy, trips to Mexico, or cutting off utilities.”
It’s true—all too often our patients tell us stories about forgoing food, utilities, and other basic necessities to pay for the outrageous cost of medications. We even had a patient who, in a difficult position, decided to pay rent and skip his heart medication instead, which sent him on a stretcher to the hospital only a few weeks later.
These stories make it clear that the US healthcare system is in desperate need of change.
But politics takes time, so our Founder and CEO Wenbo Liu asked, what can we do now to help those in need of medication, and how can we make it sustainable?
After months of planning and problem solving, Cherry Care—the non-profit arm of Cherry Street Pharmacy—was born.
Eligible Cherry Street Pharmacy patients can enroll in Cherry Care to receive up to 80% off their prescription costs. For some patients that’s the difference between being able to maintain their health or the roof over their head.
We’re proud to say Cherry Care at our first pilot pharmacy in Tulare, California is a huge success and is growing. Here are some quick stats that showcase the impact we’ve made this past year:
$38,428 in Cherry Care Savings for Cherry Street Pharmacy Patients
The co-pay assistance program is intended for individuals who have limited income to spend on medication and is funded by our non-profit organization, Cherry Care.
Eligibility for co-pay assistance through Cherry Care is simple: If you’re currently on Medical or Medicaid and make less than $30K a year you’re eligible for 100% financial assistance. If you currently make between $30K to $37K a year you’re eligible for 80% financial assistance.
In 2020, we were able to save close to $40K in prescription costs for Cherry Care patients, which in many cases is life-saving.
Wenbo recalls a time where a patient called the pharmacy for support, “He called me asking for help, saying he was low income, ill, and spending over $100 every month for prescriptions he needed to live. I referred him to our Cherry Care program since he was eligible. He was so grateful, reiterating why he didn’t know about Cherry Street sooner.”
$20K in Prescription Coupon Savings
In an effort to make health care affordable for everyone, Cherry Street Pharmacy offers prescription coupons for all our patients. These coupons are high-value for medications such as Ajovy, Otezla, and Trelegy. In the past year, we saved patients approximately $20K through our free coupons.
$50K in Money Back From Cherry Points
Cherry Points is a system designed to incentivize patients to stay in good health. Every time a patient’s record shows an act of good health such as their cholesterol levels dropping, maintaining a proper medication synchronization schedule, or getting a vaccination, the patient receives a Cherry Point.
Once a patient reaches a certain amount of Cherry Points, patients can exchange their points for cash-back rewards. Not a coupon, not a cash-voucher that you can only spend in the pharmacy, but rather cold-hard cash-back that our patients can spend as they please.
This holiday season we’ve had many patients call to cash in their points for gifts. We also recall a poignant moment of a lady cashing in her points for $20 to put gas in her tank for a job interview. By offering this system we’re able to not only positively reinforce good health but also help our patients when they need a little extra help with other savings.
$300K Cherry Care Donations to Local Government Charities
We’re not only giving back to our patients but to our entire local community. In 2020 alone we donated over $300K of our margins to local charities that are serving those in need of shelter and homes.
We Can’t Wait To Grow Our Patient Savings in 2021
2020 was an unprecedented year.
With millions of people trying to survive the new norm, we knew our business model was perfectly positioned to help those in need.
As we build our second location in Cutler, California we look forward to expanding our impact and pursuing our mission to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to all.
If you’re curious how you can join our mission, then consider joining us as an investor to bring a Cherry Street Pharmacy near you. Learn more about our investment opportunity on MicroVentures and invest today for as little as $100!