How a Company Built on Erectile Dysfunction Treatments Started Offering COVID Tests
The telehealth brand Ro got its start with ED and hair loss treatments, but it's now winning customers through at-home COVID tests
Having problems getting an at-home COVID test?
While we’ve seen some rapid tests trickling back to online stores like Amazon and Walmart, finding these easy-to-use tests over the past few weeks has been near impossible (and the cause of near riots). Interestingly, a digital health brand better known for its cheeky ads for hair loss, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation might have come up with a solution.
As reported by the New York Times, Ro (formerly Roman) — a direct-to-consumer health care operator — has been branching out since its launch in 2017 and now covers a wide range of health products and services … one of them being an at-home COVID test. Their product, On/Go, is $30 for a pack of two, which is more expensive than, say, BinaxNOW, but it does come with free two-day shipping.
Ro actually started building up its stock of COVID test kits back in January of 2021. As the Times notes, Ro has been using social media to publicize their availability; likewise, people who discovered these tests recently have been enthusiastically posting about On/Go on their own. There was some hesitancy, however, due to Ro’s reputation.
“In my head Roman is the Viagra company,” as one recent customer, Evan Hoffman, suggests. Hoffman eventually bought a test and was happy with the experience, although less than thrilled to get an array of erectile dysfunction ads soon after. “I’m like, ‘no, please God no,’” he says. “I need to click on some other stuff to train Instagram to stop sending these.”
The real good news is that Ro seems ready to produce more tests as cases rise. “We’ve continued to invest even as cases have risen and fallen,” says Ro co-founder Zachariah Reitano. “We continued our investment knowing if there is a rise in cases, if there are additional variants, we are prepared, we have enough in stock.”
And thankfully, ads for On/Go have been a little more serious than the very funny Roman ads that launched the company, which are definitely still worth a watch (see below).
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