Health Care

MyMeds, Mayo team up on prescriptions

MyMeds, started years ago by a doctor frustrated over patients who wouldn’t take their prescription medicine, is getting traction.

Northeast Minneapolis-based MyMeds has struck a collaboration with Mayo Clinic Global Business Solutions, “marking a major step in the health care sector’s efforts to combat patient non-adherence to doctor-prescribed medications.”

Patients not taking medications properly is estimated to waste about $300 billion of the $1 trillion yearly tab for prescriptions in America.

“As a doctor, I’ve seen firsthand the challenges — both medical and from a cost perspective — that result from patients missing their medications or misunderstanding their prescriptions,” said CEO Rajiv Shah, the founder and an owner of MyMeds. “This [Mayo] collaboration supports patients by providing accurate, easy to understand information while helping address this significant issue affecting everyone in health care.”

Rajni Shah, head of business development for MyMeds, said the 11-employee company works with pharmacy benefit managers, employers and insurers through the MyMeds digital platform, backed by humans, to educate patients about their medications and help them take them on schedule.

“We can create the best drugs, but if you don’t take them, what’s the point?” Rajni Shah said. “Only 50 percent of people take their meds properly. They skip them or get confused or stop taking them. You take the drug for hepatitis C for 12 weeks and you’re cured. But if you quit taking it, society is out $150,000 [for the drug] and you are not cured.”

MyMeds, which has raised more than $5 million from affluent “angel” investors, declined to disclose revenue.



Executive pay

Board pay at big companies hits $250,000

CEO pay generates the most attention, but compensation for the board of directors who approve CEO pay also has risen smartly since 2012.

A recent report from Equilar, a provider of executive data and services to boards, showed the median annual compensation for board members at the “Equilar 500” biggest public companies in the U.S. by revenue reached $250,000 in 2017, up 3.5 percent from 2016 and up 21.4 percent from five years ago.

During that same time, median CEO pay for the Equilar 500 rose to $11.9 million, up 3.5 percent from 2016 and up 21.4 percent from 2012. Traditionally boards have been paid with a mix of cash and equity awards.

“Directors are meant to represent the best interest of shareholders, and making sure directors hold equity is a form of making sure interests are aligned. Unlike executives, though, directors do not often receive performance-based equity,” according to Courtney Yu, director of research at Equilar. Yu said some proxy advisory firms frown on incentive-based awards for directors, believing they might reward risky behavior.

Directors typically receive a cash retainer and a stock award. Committee chairs receive an additional stipend. Only 7 percent of firms in the study used stock options as a form of equity-based compensation for directors in 2017, 42.1 percent fewer than in 2013. Board meeting fees are disappearing. Board members often got up to $2,000 for meetings attended.

At Minnesota’s five largest public companies, nonemployee director fees were all higher than the median of the Equilar 500. Medtronic’s director compensation rose the most. No state firm uses stock options as part of its equity grants to directors; nor do any pay meeting fees.

Patrick Kennedy

affordable housing

Bezos makes $2.5M gift to Simpson Housing

Simpson Housing Services, the 35-year-old nonprofit that shelters the homeless and works with people on permanent housing and financial stability, has received its largest private donation ever: $2.5 million from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Bezos announced donations last month of $97.5 million to 24 nonprofits, about the same time Amazon was being criticized for negotiating large public subsidies to locate regional headquarters in New York City and the Washington D.C. area.

“This support from the [Bezos] Day One Families Fund will increase our capacity to end homelessness for more families and deepen our impact … by increasing the reach of our education support programming,” said Simpson CEO Steve Horsfield.

Minneapolis-based Simpson Housing this year will work with 300-plus families, including 650 children who are homeless during at least part of the year. Simpson focuses on long-term housing stability and connecting families to resources and services such as employment, health care and education.

Bezos, worth more than $150 billion in the stock of Amazon, also has donated to homeless solutions in Seattle, Amazon’s hometown. Some have criticized Bezos for not giving enough, particularly since some Amazon warehouse workers qualify for food stamps. Bezos also has pledged $2 billion to a housing and early-education initiative this year.

Neal St. Anthony