I wish Nikita
Singareddy‘s Negotiating the Terms existed
when I looked to
enter VC. There were few female role models from diverse
backgrounds, and I didn’t know of the unique range of
career pathways into the industry. NTT is that resource, and
I hope it inspires and helps more women enter the industry. Even as an investor now, I turn to NTT to see how other
women think about our work.
I’m so excited to share my own
path to venture
capital on Negotiating the Terms.
Who knew that starting a little online shop with Janet
in high school would spark my love of (and career in)
entrepreneurship and beyond… Big thank you, also, to Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
at Santa Clara
Richer and The Ayllu Initiative, and more!
Originally posted on
I went down a rabbit hole of research to understand
skyrocketing costs of insulin
this op-ed in the New York Times. Written by Dr. Danielle Ofri, a practicing physician at
Bellevue Hospital in New York, she begins the piece by walking
through the dizzying experience of managing her patient’s
insulin for Type-1 diabetes: near-constant changes on
what is covered, and how much is covered. As
a result, her patient’s out-of-pockets expenses changed month
to month, making it difficult for the patient to budget on a
fixed income. This doctor was willing to go above and beyond
to work with the pharmacist to figure out what was going on.
Sadly, they had little success, and it struck me how few
patients have advocates like Dr. Ofri on their end.
In my research, I felt the same dizzying experience as I
navigated the pharma value chain, generics, drug patents, and
the system of rebates and coupons that pharma manufacturers,
distributors, PBMs and insurers play with to get drugs covered
and drive up costs. All of this, at the devastating expense of
unable to pay the $1,000+ a month for their
medication, people missing doses, people rationing their
doses, and the black market, from people donating their
doses once a loved one has passed away to people seeking
alternative providers beyond our borders.
This research also led me to reflect on a company I recently
reviewed. The company wanted to help low-income consumers
access drugs at a more affordable cost, and a big piece of its
model was using this system of rebates and coupons. That
sounds promising at first glance, right? Lowering the cost of
drugs means it’s more accessible, and then improved
adherence, then improved health outcomes. But maybe not: the
story behind insulin was a reminder of how some fixes can
cover up the underlying dynamics that created these unjust
systems in the first place. And exploiting a loophole (or
something broken) here may mean something else must break down
in another part of the system. Someone always pays. Sadly, it
seems like it’s usually the consumer that has the least power
in the system.
Also, related, I’m currently reading Elizabeth
Sickness. I don’t know why it took me so long to pick the book
up, but I highly recommend if you’re interested in or
working in healthcare.