Ro, or Roman, or Rory, a startup that ships generic erectile dysfunction medications, seems to have bigger plans in mind.
The online pharmacy has been quietly opening up drugstores across the United States to ship commonly used generic medications at a cheaper price so that most Americans could afford them.
Ro has been planning to test a new prescription-delivery service that offers over 500 generic medications for only $5 per prescription per month, according to a report seen by CNBC.
The $5 service also includes shipping and the web pharmacy does not accept insurance. Ro is planning to launch the service in the coming weeks.
Roman and other large retailers are offering consumers the lowest price transparency for medications. For instance, Walmart offers $4 “lowest of” pricing, while other private companies, such as GoodRx, offer discount cards to patients who do not have insurance.
So far, Ro is backed by more than $170 million in the capital. The company offers generic drugs for erectile dysfunction, hair loss, and hot flashes. The startup also has online doctors that prescribe drugs and the cost of each physician visit if $15.
The new service from Ro includes shipping some of the commonly prescribed drugs, such as metformin for diabetes and atorvastatin for high blood cholesterol.
The company has said that it does not take insurance. Instead, it asks consumers to pay from their pocket, which might be a bit more expensive for consumers with high-quality insurance for a few medications. However, it can be cheaper to pay from the pocket, according to an investigation by The New York Times.
Ro CEO Zachariah Reitano said, “Offering the most affordable way to get life-saving medications delivered to your door brings Ro one step closer to our mission of becoming a patient’s first call.”
Currently, the company has three pharmacies. It has been planning to expand to more pharmacies by the end of 2020.
Ro’s idea is to serve patients who have more serious health issues and often rely on seeing their physician in person. The company is planning to ship generic medications that are often used by older patients who are chronically ill.
However, some physicians expressed their concerns and criticized startups like Ro. They are concerned that such startups will affect the long-term relationship between doctors and patients.
Some doctors working in telemedicine say that online consultation could pave a way for them to offer medical services to patients who live in remote areas where access to doctors are a bit difficult
Reitano explained that online consultation or virtual care offers a way to reach rural patients, who are miles away from the nearest medical provider.
He said, “It enables a physician to treat patients in care deserts and increases access to care where there aren’t enough providers available.” The article was published in CNBC.