November 18, 2020
6 min. read

Dr. Marg Patel of Medly Pharmacy: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a CEO


It is important to be agile on all fronts. You have to tap into your EQ (emotional quotient/intelligence) as much as your IQ (intelligence quotient). Emotional agility is required to be able to be sympathetic to different topics, and often you will have to quickly and smoothly switch from one to another. Mental flexibility is also important to manage all of your tasks, and cope with the weight of your responsibilities.

As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Marg Patel, Co-founder and CEO of Medly Pharmacy.

Marg Patel is the co-founder and CEO of Medly, a full-service, digital pharmacy that offers free same-day prescription delivery. Dr. Patel helped to develop this model which now makes prescriptions easier and more accessible than ever. Under Marg’s leadership the company has grown 100x in revenue since its inception in 2017.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I co-founded Medly in June 2017, but my family has been in the pharmacy business since the 1980s. I am a second-generation pharmacy owner and doctor by profession. Through this, I gained an understanding nuances in healthcare, especially in the pharmaceutical space. It was apparent that patients needed a more seamless process to manage prescriptions. I’m honored to be part of making this happen. Today, Medly dispenses all medications, with free same-day delivery.

Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?

There are a myriad of challenges you face when you start something from the ground up. You have to think of everything, even choosing the right name and location. However, I learned the most important part of creating a company is having the right team. For Medly, it was essential that our team would share the same passion as us, while having a relevant background in healthcare. We are fortunate to say we have achieved this with our current team.

What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?

I believe our success is largely due to the diverse thinking and passion our team brings to our mission. We view success has a constant process. For us, that means helping more patients manage their medications easily, at scale. .

We have always been hyper-focused on delivering a phenomenal experience for our patients, which has led to that being the biggest driver of new patient growth, rather than flashy marketing. A large part of what we view as success is providing excellent customer service. I am pleased that our customer satisfaction score is 4.5 times greater than that of the average pharmacy. I believe this is because we offer a very personal, humanized experience while also being convenient and seamless.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.

It is critical to have the right team, and once you have them, listen to their ideas. Through Medly, I realized that everyone on the team needs to be a part of the decision process, and that we all need to be working towards the same goal. It sounds very simple but is especially vital when creating a startup from the ground up. You have to have team members with diverse thought processes who bring different perspectives and fresh ideas to the team. It will make your company stronger.

For example, our engineering and product teams have continued to bring valuable ideas around how to integrate technology into the pharmacy experience. Our marketing team continues to come up with creative ideas on how to expand and grow our business and compelling insights that help us understand the patients’ needs.

You will not be able to make everyone happy. It is unfortunate, but as CEO you will have to make decisions that not everyone will agree with. Your concern is what is best for the company. Be prepared to make difficult calls.

It is important to be agile on all fronts. You have to tap into your EQ (emotional quotient/intelligence) as much as your IQ (intelligence quotient). Emotional agility is required to be able to be sympathetic to different topics, and often you will have to quickly and smoothly switch from one to another. Mental flexibility is also important to manage all of your tasks, and cope with the weight of your responsibilities.

This may be easy to assume, but hard work is time-consuming! You have to be willing to put in the time to get results, so be prepared for long hours.

Execution is everything. For Medly, proper execution was vital in expanding the pharmacy and services and will continue to be a core part of our future plans to grow to more major markets.

What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Create a defined process that allows you to scale your work. These processes allow you to push out more work and get more tasks done without feeling overwhelmed.

It is also important to create a positive environment at both work and home, as much as you can. Medly started as a family business, so it was important to us to continue to foster this mindset, even as we continued to grow.

Make it a point to communicate to your team members that you are looking for their help in building a positive environment. Startups specifically require team members to be nimble, so having a healthy attitude and environment helps everyone be more flexible and understanding.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I am grateful for my team. They have all provided different ideas and fresh perspectives that have allowed me to grow. Many times, our great ideas are the result of an entire group, so I am thankful to have such a strong team behind me.

I am also grateful for my dad. He is one of my biggest supporters. He is a retired pharmacist and has been an excellent resource since we first started Medly. He was such a strong supporter when we first started Medly, and now, we are still able to chat about the pharmacy industry in a light-hearted way.

My co-founder and my brother were also a huge part of this experience for me. We worked together to form Medly, and I believe that the combination of our strengths was what helped get us up and running.

What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?

For Medly, one goal is to expand the platform nationally. I want to see Medly increase accessibility in new markets, to deliver a more humanized and simplified pharmacy experience. Personally, I want to equip myself to aid in this expansion and help make Medly as strong as possible to help as many patients as we can.

What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?

I would love for my legacy to be as one of the major players who makes a difference in the lives of patients, from a healthcare and pharmacy perspective. I want to make a real dent in the pharmacy space and be able to serve as many patients as possible. Medly is an innovative model that I hope will move the needle and change the perspective of what a “good pharmacy experience” really means.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!

The pharmacy and healthcare industries can be very confusing for patients, and I want to try and fix this. To me, Medly is a movement, and I am honored to be part of it. We are changing the way prescriptions get to patients, and fostering the adoption of technology in the pharmacy business. This is ultimately creating a more patient-focused pharmacy on all fronts.

I would also like to increase transparency. The general consumer and even pharmacists are currently unaware of how the money for prescriptions is distributed. Someday, I would love work to continue drug transparency. While I have a few ideas on how this could happen, I believe we need more of a foothold nationally around this, before we can begin to work on this front.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Want to keep updated with Medly? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter!

UTM Source:UTM Campaign:UTM Content:UTM Medium:UTM Term:UTM Device:Landing Page:Company:Last Name:
Join Medly