London-based Echo raises £1.8 million to tackle medication adherence

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A recent GP study shows that busy professionals and patients aged 25-34 years are the worst at making sure they take their medicine, with more than a third admitting that they occasionally forget to request a repeat prescription in time.

Echo aims to solve this problem and launches today with a £1.8 million seed investment round led by LocalGlobe and supported by Global Founders Capital – the fund of Rocket Internet co-founder Oliver Samwer. The London-based startup was founded in 2015.

The Echo app makes life easier for people on long-term medication by removing the hassle of repeat prescription management. Users make requests via the app which are sent to their existing NHS GP for approval. Once approved, prescriptions are sent to Echo’s partner pharmacies for dispensing, and dispatched by Mail.

Stephen Bourke, Echo co-founder and a former executive with LloydsPharmacy stated: “There are too many barriers to obtaining a repeat prescription, from having to take time off work to attend a GP appointment, to the pharmacy not having enough medication in stock. Echo brings the whole process to your smartphone, with delivery to your door. Our goal is to simplify things, maximising medication possession, minimising fuss.”

Co-founder and CEO Dr Lakshmi added: “Forgetfulness is the number one reason for non-adherence. With UK smartphone penetration passing 80%, there’s a huge opportunity to use mobile technology to nudge people towards better health. We want to make adherence the path of least resistance, significantly improving health outcomes and reducing waste.”

Echo works with existing prescription workflows, so it’s compatible with all NHS GP surgeries. The app also uses natural language processing to convert GP directions into reminders, automatically prompting users when to take their medication and when they’re about to run out.

Founders Dr Sai Lakshmi and Stephen Bourke have built a multidisciplinary team of doctors, pharmacists and technologists, united in their mission to improve medication adherence. The team also works with a leading London GP practice, the Hurley Group, to optimise communication between patient, GP and pharmacist.