Fast Company has learned that the merger took place at the end of 2016, but was not announced publicly. Iodine CEO Thomas Goetz confirmed the deal, but declined to share the financial terms. The San Francisco-based company will not relocate to GoodRx’s Santa Monica, California, headquarters and will continue to operate with the same team, Goetz says.
The digital health sector has seen a slight slowdown in the number of exits in 2016, compared to the prior year. It’s still early days for the sector, so most exits tend to involve digital health companies acquiring each other or merging together, according to venture firm Rock Health.
Since it was founded in 2013, Iodine has raised more than $2 million to develop a website and suite of free mobile apps that help consumers compare medications, communicate with each other, and track their side effects. The company cofounded by Goetz, a former Wired journalist, was selected as one of Apple’s first CareKit partners for its app Start. Start is designed for patients who have been prescribed antidepressants and want to determine if they’re working.
GoodRx and Iodine initially started working together in August 2016 on a project to incorporate drug-pricing data into Iodine’s existing content. As Goetz puts it, the founders saw an opportunity to jointly develop a better “consumer experience around medicine and medications.” A merger made sense, given that both companies are aligned and financially vested in helping consumers find medications that work for them, rather than ceasing to take them altogether.
In a statement, GoodRx co-CEO and former Facebook employee Doug Hirsch described the companies’ respective missions as being “a perfect complement.”
“GoodRx focuses on affordability of prescriptions and Iodine has created insightful, in-depth, and yet easy-to-understand content that helps consumers understand their drug choices and benefits and potential risks of their prescriptions,” he adds.
GoodRx bills its service as saving patients up to 80% on their medications, letting them print out coupons from its website. Another popular feature lets consumers to compare drug prices at different nearby pharmacies to ensure they get the best price.
Iodine has seen a major bump in traffic since the election, says Goetz, particularly for its tool to help users find the right birth control at a time when reproductive rights are under threat.
Goetz is hoping that the merger will result in more opportunities to guide consumers to make better choices and bring transparency to the murky issue of drug pricing. “People are being exposed to very expensive prices for drugs and they don’t understand why,” he says.