A new menopause health service has launched in California that offers women remote consultations and, for the first time, mail-order prescriptions of menopause hormone replacement therapies.
Called CurieMD, the telemedicine platform offers consumers video consultation with a board-certified midlife health practitioners (free at launch, and $39 for follow-up appointments).
Should that practitioner determine it is appropriate, users will receive a prescription for hormone therapies that can be purchased through CurieMD and delivered to their home in discrete packaging. The FDA-approved bio-identical hormone treatments on offer come as oral tablets, vaginal creams and oral contraceptive pills, and are offered as quarterly payment plans.
“When women choose CurieMD, they’re connected with a board-certified midlife health expert who is a confidential, knowledgeable resource with whom they can discuss the symptoms and treatment options they’ve been wondering about but haven’t been able to ask,” Dr. Leslie Meserve, cofounder and chief medical officer, said in a statement. “Hormone therapy is just one of these options and CurieMD's physicians will work with you to choose a treatment based on your health history and symptoms.”
WHY IT MATTERS
While femtech has been on the rise in recent years, and so far the bulk of those products have honed in on fertility and pregnancy.
“About 60 percent of femtech startups are focused on fertility, nursing and pregnancy. Collectively these startups have raised over a billion dollars on investments,” Vanessa Mason,research director at Institute for the Future, said at MadPow last April. “I am obviously someone really heartened by this news. We are finally, in the digital health industry and by extension medicine, really taking seriously the needs of [women], and really working to serve women’s health.”
However, Mason and others in the femtech space are pushing for innovators to look beyond fertility and into other facets of women’s health.
“[W]hat does designing for wellbeing and health look like for all women; specifically, what does that wellbeing look like when it doesn’t include pregnancy?” Mason told MobiHealthNews in May.
CurieMD’s new telehealth service, and the addition of another mail-order treatment option, better fleshes out the fringes of femtech and women’s health offerings. And due to their emphasis on discretion, the launch of a new service could increase access to treatment for customers unlikely to seek it out otherwise.
THE LARGER TREND
With all that being said, there have been a few other remote consultation and tech-focused services cropping up over the last couple years.
Consumer-focused telehealth provider Ro launched a service called Rory in March that treats for hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep deprivation and other symptoms. And while it may lack the extensive marketing budget of a consumer brand like Ro, Genneve also offers video appointments, pharmacy pickup prescriptions and educational materials designed for women experiencing menopause.
ON THE RECORD
“While hormone replacement therapy isn’t right for everyone, for many women, it is the most effective way to immediately alleviate the majority of their troublesome menopausal symptoms,” Dr. Michael Krychman, a member of CurieMD’s Medical Advisory Board, said in a statement. “My patients have described going on hormone therapy as life-changing and as if a ‘dark fog’ was lifted. They’re able to be their same, revitalized selves again. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that every woman in midlife deserves to have the opportunity to explore the option of hormone therapy.”