October 8, 2021

Doctors Concern Over Hot Startup Hims Prescribing Generic Viagra

  • Trendy men’s health startup Hims sells generic Viagra and other prescription drugs online. Dazzling advertising campaigns propelled the San Francisco-based company to the forefront and to a $ 1 billion valuation.
  • But an effort led by Hims to increase the number of online patients doctors could treat with generic Viagra has raised concerns among some doctors who work with Hims.
  • These doctors feared that Hims would push them to write more prescriptions. Some clinicians said late last year in an internal survey that they felt patient care was deteriorating. A frame of Hims says there is no pressure to prescribe.
  • Executive Melissa Baird told Business Insider US that the original guidelines on erectile dysfunction were too conservative.
  • In a statement, Hims said the level of patient care and safety on its platform was “best in class.”
  • Business Insider is the first to report on changing prescribing protocols and physician concerns.
  • This is a preview of our full survey, which is available exclusively to BI Prime subscribers.

Imagine if you could get a prescription medication for a health issue online without going to see a doctor, or even talk to one.

That’s the promise behind trendy men’s health startup Hims, which claims its online platform is making medical care more accessible to men with stigmatized health conditions such as impotence and hair loss. .

You’ve probably seen the popping commercials featuring stylized eggplants and cacti (a nod to Hims’ work on erectile dysfunction), and even rapper Snoop Dogg. With these high-profile campaigns, the San Francisco telemedicine startup has grown in importance and its valuation is estimated to approach $ 1 billion.

But Hims’ approach has raised concerns among some doctors working with the company after the start-up led an effort to increase the number of patients doctors could treat with generic Viagra online, according to secret messages. among clinicians and someone familiar with the subject.

Clinicians are employed by Hims’ independent medical partner, an organization called Bailey Health. But the move made some doctors fear that Hims would pressure them to write more prescriptions in a more lenient manner. Erectile dysfunction can also be a sign of more worrying health issues, which may go undiagnosed or undetected during an online visit, according to an outside expert.

This story is based on secret messages between clinicians and internal documents reviewed by Business Insider, as well as conversations with current and former doctors at Bailey Health. Business Insider also spoke with Melissa Baird, Head of Product and Operations at Hims, and Dr Peter Stahl, Medical Consultant at Hims. Bailey Health’s requests for comment were not returned by two people there.

Hims said in a statement that “this account is patently false” and that the level of patient care and safety on his platform was “best in class.” Hims also pointed out the separate and separate status of Bailey Health.

“Any statement to the contrary is categorically false and is intentionally intended to undermine the credibility of the safe and effective protocols set forth in telemedicine and the medical community at large.“the statement said.” Hims has always made it clear to physicians that each physician should prescribe in their own independent clinical judgment and that patient safety is paramount. There are no penalties or negative repercussions of any kind for physicians based on their prescription rates. “

The concerns raised at Hims provide a unique window into the issues that may arise as more healthcare services move online and businesses move between e-commerce and medicine, serving patients who need it. are also customers.

Read the full Business Insider story on Hims, available exclusively to BI Prime members.


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