Ask almost every man that you know who is 27-33 years of age to name two things that worry him about the future. One of two (or both of two) answers come up. Male Millennials, like their Generation X and Boomer Dad’s, worry about erectile dysfunction and hair loss. Not “most” men, or “many” men are concerned in those two areas. It’s universal and is why “Hims,” has come on the scene. It is an online service that provides men’s health and wellness prescription meds. Answer a series of questions, take a photo of the area of concern. (For hair loss concerns. No photo is needed for erectile dysfunction issues.) An affordable package will arrive at the front door in a few days.
Hims founder Andrew Duddum started his company just as Pfizer’s patent for Viagra and Upjohn’s (since purchased by Pfizer) stranglehold on finasteride (shelf name Minoxidil) ended. Dudum kicked in the pharmacy’s door and built his online physician’s office.
Gildshire uses the words “physician’s office” on purpose because that’s how Mr. Dudum describes what is happening. “We’re the front door of the doctor’s office,” he said. “We are completely different from anything in the health-care system.”
He is correct, and his product line is growing as we speak. Besides erectile dysfunction and hair growth drugs, Dudum’s company markets other items, some of them for men or women. A gender-neutral cold-sore medicine is gaining popularity. Skin-care products from Hims are gaining traction. Scented candles dot the product list. A small but growing clothing selection is new to hims.com.
Hims medicines come in appealing packaging. The creams, ointments, and shampoos smell of raspberry, cedar, and oak, rather than your high school chemistry lab.
A Hims monthly ‘scrip for finasteride is approximately 30 dollars. That is significantly less than the local pharmacist gets for it. For just $14 more, hims.com bundles medicated shampoo with the baldness treatment.
So, are we to believe that Andrew Dudum has found a virtual Fountain of Youth for his customers along with a cash machine for himself? Is his road to riches smooth and pothole free? Well, maybe there are an issue or two of concern in the medical community. Some observers wonder aloud if finasteride is appropriate for men who are young and otherwise healthy. A recent study indicates that Minoxidil has been known to retard ejaculation and hinder the maintenance of a good erection. A 2016 double-blind test discovered that 1.5% of men 35-40 years of age and treated with finasteride developed some erectile dysfunction. For a few of the afflicted males, the E.D. symptoms persisted for as many as 3.6 years after the treatment ended.
There was worse news for the younger men in the testing group. Men 25-30 years old were much more likely to suffer erectile issues than were men who were given a placebo as a part of the test.
It is very easy to get a prescription filled through hims.com. The health survey(s) that the prospective patient answers go to one of the 124 Him’s network doctors. A vast majority (over 97%) of requests for finasteride are filled. The filled-prescription rate for patients who request erectile dysfunction relief is just over 80%.
Some experts worry about that high approval rate. The Hims way of doing business is advantageous for potentially shy patients. But, treatment without genuine doctor/patient give-and-take can result in missed details. On a related note, many observers express similar concerns over the trend toward teleconferenced appointments with a personal physician.
So far, Andrew Dudum and Hims have held off the naysayers. But there may be trouble in a cloud of dust on the distant horizon. Internet retail behemoth Amazon recently purchased PillPack for a purchase price of $1 billion.
Can Hims stand its ground against that hungry, hungry hippo? Gildshire looks forward to watching that action as it unfolds. We will brush our luxurious, long mane of hims.com hair out of our eyes so we can see better.