The process for diagnosing erectile dysfunction (ED) can take time. A patient is lucky if he can get into a doctor’s schedule within a month. There is also the travel time to consider. Apart from these hurdles, talking about a man’s problems with his sexual organ is downright awkward. Getting the prescription filled at a pharmacy is a big deal and understandably uncomfortable. This is why men with these experiences turn to buying Viagra or Cialis online through unregulated vendors. Fake pills adulterated with other substances are also prevalent.
Erectile Dysfunction Stats
ED is fairly common. It affects about 30% of men in their thirties, and this number goes up to 40% for men 40 years old and above. Men don’t talk about it. Women find it awkward to talk about it even in the privacy of their home. This forces the issue underground and away from doctors who can help. Unfortunately, ED is an indicator of a man’s health. Heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression can cause ED. Men who have the condition have a 70% increase in risks of dying prematurely.
Zachariah Reitano was 17 when he was first diagnosed with ED. He was lucky that his father is a sexual health doctor who knows that ED is a side-effect of an underlying disease. The younger Reitano went in for a physical exam and collapsed on the treadmill. It was found that he had a heart condition.
He went through a heart surgery and was put on prescribed medication, which unfortunately had ED as one of the side effects. He was taken off the medication after his heart healed, but to his surprise the ED was back post-op.
Now at 26, Reitano knows the effects of ED on relationships. He had a bold idea which inspired him to establish an online system which helps men with ED. His co-founders include the co-founder of Managed by Q Saman Rahmanian, and VP of growth for Barkbox Rob Schutz.
Roman, the ED Wonder
Roman is an app that processes patient information and serves as an online pharmacy for ED meds. It is a facility where men with ED can get a prescription from doctors, and have the drug delivered to their home. It has 20 licenced physicians who provide consultations and prescriptions.
The consultation process starts in the Roman app with the patient answering a series of questions. Doctors then review the answers from the questionnaire. If the patients pass the criteria, they are sent a prescription to their home within 24 hours, in plain nondescript packaging. The doctors keep the consultation fees and pay Roman a monthly subscription. Patients can request a follow-up call by phone or via video calls. Roman encourages patients to visit a clinic near their area, offering discounts for visiting a doctor and sending them the results.
The dosage ranges from 4 to 10 doses per month, with prices from $2 to $65 per dose depending on the brand. The 10-dose monthly limit combats overuse and abuse.
Roman circumvents the stigma usually associated with ED. It also makes for a quick response to the problem. With licensed practitioners on call, everything is above board. Studies have shown that only 30% of men who have ED seek treatment, at the same time up to 80% of Viagra from online vendors are counterfeit. There is an inequity which Roman solves in a timely manner.
The startup recently raised $3.1 million in a funding round led by General Catalyst and includes Box Group, Slow Ventures, Initialized, as well as angel investors Aaron Harris of Y Combinator, Scott Belsky of Benchmark, and others.
There are other online pharmacies and telemedicine startups. However, Roman is the only one specializing on ED. This simplifies distribution for the company, as well as ensures that only qualified doctors answer all the patient’s questions.