Prescriptions on Demand - The Growth of DTC Telemedicine Companies

Discussion in 'Men's Health Forum' started by Michael Scally MD, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. Michael Scally MD

    Michael Scally MD Doctor of Medicine

    [OA] Prescriptions on Demand - The Growth of Direct-to-Consumer Telemedicine Companies

    Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising for medications and other health-related products and services has been a prominent part of the health care landscape in the United States. More recently, DTC drug telemedicine has become increasingly popular as a model of care delivery.

    Bold orange banners can be seen by commuters who use public transportation about “the erectile dysfunction meds you definitely don’t need, but your ‘friend’ was asking about,” while frequent advertisements on social media celebrate the ease of obtaining prescriptions for acne or contraception.

    DTC telemedicine companies have attracted large sums of venture capital funding in order to grow rapidly; according to Pitchbook, the company Hims raised $197 million with a $1.1 billion valuation since its launch less than 2 years ago. Nurx, a company that prescribes contraception, added prominent board members including Chelsea Clinton to help lead its expansion.

    DTC telemedicine companies are focused on improving convenience within a health care system that many patients find overly complex. An important issue is whether this convenience comes at the cost of lower-quality patient care. This Viewpoint characterizes potential strengths and weaknesses of the DTC drug telemedicine model.

    Jain T, Lu RJ, Mehrotra A. Prescriptions on Demand: The Growth of Direct-to-Consumer Telemedicine Companies. JAMA. Published online July 26, 2019.
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