Fancy a coronavirus test with your Viagra? | Seattle weather


Like many New Yorkers the week before Christmas, Dinah Chamberlain, 39, was looking for COVID-19 testing at home. She was going to visit her parents in Wisconsin, and she wanted to test regularly with them.

“I heard that a pharmacy near my home in Williamsburg has it,” she said. “I called them and they told me there were only five left. “I ran over there to watch the person in front of me buy the last one.”

Shortly after, she saw an Instagram post from a local news site in her Brooklyn neighborhood saying that Roman, a healthcare provider known to take care of men, had tests in stock and could send them to customers within two days.

The New York-based startup was founded in October 2017 as a digital men’s health clinic. It’s a place where men – especially millennials who are the target audience for cheeky subway ad campaigns – can get treatment for conditions like hair loss, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation. And no in-person doctor’s visit is necessary; everything can be done virtually.

Chamberlain, who works as a designer of men’s clothing, had vaguely heard of the company through commercials on the subway and on television, but she certainly didn’t expect to become a client.

So far, that is. She immediately had tests sent to Wisconsin.

“It’s funny that in an emergency I turn to an erectile dysfunction business,” she said. “I mean, good for them to have them when no one else has.”

Since its inception, Roman, now called Ro, the name of the umbrella company, has grown beyond serving men who have issues they want to take care of quietly.

A year after its inception, the company created Zero, a virtual medical program to help people quit smoking. In three years, he had Rory, the female version of Roman with services including skin care and sexual health treatments, and Ro Pharmacy, an online pharmacy that dispenses more than 1,000 generic prescriptions across the United States. United.

She now owns Modern Fertility, a reproductive health clinic; Kit, a company that performs diagnostic tests at home; and Ro Mind, a mental health clinic focused on the treatment of anxiety and depression.

According to Ro, clients are of all ages and have a wide variety of medical needs. “People may know us better because of where we started, but when we look at our data, the majority of our patients sign up for something other than ED,” said Zachariah Reitano, one. of the co-founders. But it wasn’t until the company started selling in-home COVID tests in November that many customers began to understand that the company was more than a way to get generic Viagra “from the comfort of home.” “.

People who never thought of visiting the company’s website become enthusiastic customers. They post about Roman and Ro on social media, giving the company free organic advertising.

It’s a gift healthcare companies don’t always receive, Reitano said. As he said, “It’s rare that people have had such a great healthcare experience that they want to talk about it on social media.

When Evan Hoffman, 42, a software engineer who lives in Bellmore, New York, found quick COVID tests on Ro’s website, he tweeted about it. “I saw several people on Twitter, people with blue marks, complaining that they couldn’t find a test, so I sent them an ad and said, ‘Go get this stuff. They have it in stock, ”he said.

He knew the reputation of the company. “In my head, Roman is the Viagra company,” he said. His thoughts were confirmed when after purchasing the COVID tests he received advertisements for all kinds of erectile dysfunction products. “I’m like ‘No, please, no,'” he said. “I need to click other items to cause Instagram to stop sending them.”

But he still posted on the company. He thought it was too important to spread the word about where to find COVID tests than to worry about the potential for embarrassment. “It was as if I had found a rough diamond that no one had yet discovered,” he said.

Hoffman has not purchased anything else from the site, but it is open there for the first time. “If I needed a refill for a drug and they had a really good price, I guess I can see using their pharmacy,” he said. “I’d be open to other kinds of testing as well, like if they were selling strep tests or something like that.”

He added that this experience made him respect the company. “It gave them the legitimacy that they were selling real COVID-19 products at a decent price and could deliver them on time,” he said.

About actual testing: Ro sells the On / Go brand of COVID-19 testing and charges $ 30 for a two-pack. It is more expensive than other products elsewhere. The BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test, for example, sells for $ 24 for two at most drugstores. The company insists it has to charge that much. “We don’t make any profit when someone buys a single test because of the cost of the test as well as the free two-day delivery,” Reitano said.

Chamberlain said purchasing COVID-19 tests had not completely changed his image of the company. “In my head, Roman is even more for men,” she said. But she views the company favorably because they could get her tests while CVS and Walgreens couldn’t. “I feel like they were really smart to have them because there is a huge demand,” she said.

Ro said it had been operating since January 2021 to make sure it had COVID tests in stock, as that’s when customers started asking for them. It has not been an ongoing process. (One of its early partners, for example, has yet to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its testing.) “We have continued to invest even as cases have increased and decreased,” said Reitano. “We have continued our investment knowing if there is an increase in cases, if there are additional variants, we are ready, we have enough stock.”

For example, at the start of last year, Ro had three pharmacy distribution centers across the country. Now he has 10, which allows him to deliver products quickly. Only time will tell if the company will be able to meet demand for its COVID-19 tests as other companies struggle.

But for now, it’s clear that he has a trending product that people are happy to talk about. Eric Goldie, 31, who works full time in real estate in New York City but is also a social media influencer, was hired by Roman for digital campaigns. He said when he first heard Roman was selling COVID home tests, he called the social media agency Roman works with and asked to be part of selling the product.

He expects he will get a different reaction from his audience when he releases home tests rather than premature ejaculation drugs.

“What is someone going to troll you with with a COVID-19 test?” ” he said.


Comments are closed.