How Telehealth and Generic Drugs Are Allowing Companies To Treat Men’s Most Embarrassing Health Issues

Posted: May 16, 2018 at 1:36 pm

When it comes to men and their health, the idea that men don’t care about their health comes from the alarming rate at which they don’t go to the doctor. Men care about their health, but many common sexual health issues lead to embarrassment and, usually, a lack of proactivity. Today, companies are forming to challenge and inspire self-care in men when it comes to their most common – and most embarrassing – health issues.


Hair loss, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation are all very common health issues that plague men, a lot of men. According to the American Hair Loss Association, 25 percent of men with male pattern baldness begin losing their hair before they turn 21 years old. The Cleveland Clinic reports that 52 percent of men experience erectile dysfunction. The Mayo Clinic shares that as many as 1 in 3 men experience premature ejaculation at some point.


But why aren’t men going to their doctor’s office to talk about these issues more?

Hair, Sexual Wellness, and Self-Esteem

The answer is pretty simple: these issues are deeply rooted in the idea of masculinity and self-esteem, especially for younger men.


Andrew Dudum, founder of the new online men’s wellness brand Hims, is using this idea to fuel his new startup. Dudum recently spoke to Business Insider and stated, “between hair, sexual wellness, and skin, that makes up, from our testing, upwards of 85% what contributes to your self-esteem."


Hims mission is to normalize the information and conversation about these issues, while also offering a convenient solution to the issue – allowing men to order generic prescription products that treat these common health issues online without having to see a doctor in person.

H2: Telehealth and Expiring Patents

Hims isn’t the only company seizing this opportunity to change men’s health and, essentially, change the way men take control of their health and self-esteem. Other companies like Roman aim at men and erectile dysfunction directly, while a similar brand called Lemonaid offers treatment for men’s health, birth control pills for women, and more general health issues like UTIs and sinus infections.


These new companies are able to positively impact people’s health due to changes in telehealth laws. In the past, health insurance companies resisted paying for or offering reimbursements for telehealth services received because an in-person visit is not required. Today, roughly 80 percent of the U.S. is able to receive coverage and reimbursements for telehealth services. It’s possible for people to receive a prescription by filling out an online survey that provides similar information that an in-person doctor’s visit would offer.


Another opportunity is presenting itself this December when Teva Pharmaceuticals begins selling a generic version of Viagra. Pfizer, maker of Viagra, has a generic drug competition patent expiring in 2020 and sold a license to Teva to begin production of a generic form of the leading erectile dysfunction drug and selling it in 2017. A generic version means a cheaper price tag for men and allows companies like Hims to begin offering the generic version in their product kit for about the cost of visiting your doctor, with the added benefit of not having to speak about your common health issues in person.


Currently, Hims only offers hair loss products, with their complete hair kit offering prescription finasteride, the generic version of Merck’s once-exclusive name-brand hair loss drug Propecia. Other products in the kit include a DHT shampoo, minoxidil drops — two over-the-counter treatments that are found in Rogaine — and Biotin vitamin supplements. For $44, men can get the power of prescription drugs and common over-the-counter treatments from their phone, all without ever facing a doctor, a pharmacist, or even someone at a checkout counter.

Online Wellness Hubs

Hims is an example of what is sure to be a growing market for online health and wellness hubs. For Hims customers, Dudum wants to serve and help men through all stages of their life and their health challenges. In an interview with TechCrunch, Dudum states, “Maybe you come for hair loss products initially, but you come back for sexual wellness products, then cholesterol wellness products. We want to grow with you as different challenges arise.”


Hims’ mission of creating an empowered health culture and inspire proactive and preventative self-care can hopefully start to inspire self-care in men. The idea of telehealth and self-care is an idea that will persist in these new online wellness hubs and is one that men, and certainly their partners, can get behind.

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