Menopause treatment comes online in the form of Rory, a new telehealth direct-to-consumer brand from Ro, the company behind bringing men’s health issues like erectile dysfunction, to digital.
Ro, the parent of Roman, connects men to doctors through an online portal to discuss men’s health issues, like ED and hair loss. Doctors can diagnose and prescribe medication through the cloud-based platform. Rory works similarly; women visit with a doctor online, receive a personalized prescription treatment (if necessary), and can join a Facebook group to further talk about issues around menopause.
Despite the similarities between Rory and Roman, which has been on the market for almost two years, Rachel Blank, founder of Rory, said they couldn’t transfer what they learned from Roman over to its new women’s health venture. So, the Rory team started by talking to women in menopause, what their concerns were, how they wished packaging to address their symptoms looked and more. Unlike many DTC brands in the health space, Rory’s packaging doesn’t say the company’s name on it and includes a non-see through zipper pouch, so if it fell out of a women’s purse, no one would know what was in it.
“What we heard was is: menopause isn’t a disease, this is a natural part of life that women are going through and so some of the products out there make them feel diseased,” Blank said. “They want and deserve this branded experience that they’re seeing their daughters have.”
Rory debuts today across the country, with the ability to talk to a doctor available in 47 states.
“It is an underserved market and a population that isn’t having their needs met in the healthcare system,” Blank said. “At the end of the day, what we’re building with Rory more than anything else is giving women the tools to be their own advocates.”
The online visit is $15, and the products—which include both prescription and holistic items—range from $9 to $100 or more a month. As part of the $15 fee, customers receive any followups for free. More importantly, Dr. Melynda Barnes, the clinical director for Rory, said the physicians part of the Rory network have “zero incentive” to prescribe any medication and are compensated as part of their evaluation of patients—and not if they prescribe a treatment of any kind. Dr. Barnes said it’s partly why Rory offers both prescription medicine and over-the-counter products; it relieves the pressure for women to feel like they can only take something that’s prescribed.
The support doesn’t stop and end with the doctor either. Based on consumer feedback, Rory created a Facebook group community called Roar, where women can connect and talk about their symptoms. Blank said everyone is screened and no men are allowed, but people who identify as women are welcome (as are non-paying Rory customers).
“The onus is on us to show we are different, how we are working hard to provide the appropriate health care to all of our patients, and all of the members who trust Rory,” Dr. Barnes said.
Blank said Rory came about from three related but separate reasons. Firstly, Ro’s mission of “providing personalized healthcare to every person on the planet,” meant it was eventually going to get into women’s healthcare. Secondly, Blank’s own experience with polycystic ovary syndrome caused symptoms similar to menopause. And lastly, addressing the needs of an older consumer that is plugged into technology and wants items through an app, despite misnomers, said Blank.
“There’s no reason that they shouldn’t have access to convenient affordable accessible healthcare solutions,” Blank said.