Healthcare in the U.S. continues to be under threat. With conservative lawmakers incessantly promoting bills aiming to cut healthcare programmes and big pharma corporations eager to squeeze every possible penny out of consumers, many Americans find themselves unable to access quality healthcare. Nurx is a company trying to improve this sordid state of affairs and make the healthcare maze easier to navigate for the average American.
Founded by Hans Gangeskar and Dr. Edvard Engesæth, Nurx seeks to revolutionise the landscape of primary care through the internet. Using its website or app, people from across the country can order home-testing kits, consult with world-class doctors, and order prescription drugs which will be delivered straight to their door without charge. Primary care as a whole is a hefty beast to tackle. And so, the company currently focuses primarily on one aspect of healthcare: sexual health. Nurx provides its users access to birth control pills, HIV PrEP, HPV Screening tests, and emergency contraception (the day after pill).
In general, the user simply needs to indicate which type of medication they’re interested in (or consult a member of Nurx’s medical team should they need guidance), answer a set of questions, and provide their insurance information (if they have any). Then, a Nurx-approved doctor will review the request and issue a prescription if approved, which will then be delivered for free to the customer’s house in a discreet package.
Users interested in PrEP, for instance—a daily pill for HIV prevention for people not infected with the virus—may submit their request through the Nurx website or app by answering several simple questions about their health and sexual activity. The users then have to pay a $12 consultation fee which covers online medical consultation, review of the lab results (which may be done at home with a testing-kit), and unlimited texting about PrEP with the company’s medical until their due for renewal (once every three months). Nurx either submits a claim to the user’s insurance company for the cost of the drug or helps them find a payment assistance programme if they are uninsured. Currently, 99 percent of the company’s patients do not pay for PrEP.
Nurx also significantly facilitate women’s access to birth control, which in the current political state in the U.S. does not come as a matter of fact. The company’s medical team provides recommendations for women who are unsure which type of birth control to use, and helps them find the one that is most appropriate for their needs. Users may also turn to them with any questions relating to the medication, its usage, and side effects.
What makes this company so noteworthy is the complete anonymity it guarantees its patients. Fears of ‘getting caught’ at a sex-health clinic discourage many from accessing sexual health services, particularly in communities in which sex and sexuality are regarded as taboo. Nurx’s method tackles these issues and increases the likelihood of people seeking out help.
Start-ups such as Nurx cannot come instead of solid government-sponsored healthcare programmes. That said, we can’t wait until lawmakers get their act together either. Healthcare access is urgent, and its lack thereof harms society as a whole. And so, while people across the country fight for their right to quality, free healthcare, it helps to have initiatives that make health services reachable and affordable.